Snow Free, Worry Free

As we head into the winter months, a large snowfall looms as a possibility. The folks at Clean Wisconsin are urging people to consider the the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal practices.

“Salt contaminates our water and can ruin surrounding soil and vegetation,” said Amanda Wegner, media specialist at Clean Wisconsin. “Snow blowers emit carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides and refueling can result in gasoline spills that eventually trickle into waterways.”

What can the Earth-conscious Wisconsinite do?

1. Stick to the shovel

Shoveling the old-fashioned way emits absolutely zero greenhouse gases and keeps our waterways, wells and drinking water free of salt and gasoline.

2. Power wisely

For bigger snow removal jobs, a snow blower may be necessary. If you must use one, check into buying an electric or hybrid snow blower; these models emit less air pollution and use less fossil fuels.

3. The no-salt diet

Instead of using water- and soil-polluting salt to melt away that ice, use an abrasive alternative like sand, wood ash or cat litter; just remember to keep these materials out of storm drains. Any of these alternatives to salt are better for the health of drinking water, aquatic life, soil, pets and nearby plants. If you must use salt, find one that does not contain sodium chloride, which is the worst of all salt combinations, and use sparingly.

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