In Minnesota’s winter months, snow and ice can prove to be anything from a nuisance to a hazard. Between snowstorms and freezing temperatures, we often seek relief from salt to make driveways and sidewalks more accessible. It’s important to keep in mind that salt doesn’t disappear when the snow and ice eventually melts. Instead, salt washes into our local lakes and rivers and eventually seeps into our drinking water supply disturbing the environmental balance.
You can be prepared for everything winter throws your way by following these simple tips to limit salt use:
- Set a schedule. During larger snow events, try to shovel every one to two hours depending on how long the snow event is expected to last. Not only will it lighten your load, but this will also help to prevent ice from forming under the snow.
- No Shovel? No Problem. If your snow blower is out of commission or if you don’t have a shovel handy, try placing a plastic tarp over walkways, sidewalks, or even your vehicle. When the flurries stop, remove the tarp to reveal a clear path.
- Use a Leaf Blower. Leaf blowers are perfect for removing light, fluffy snow. Just point and blow the snow away.
- Build traction. Use sand or even birdseed for traction. Although the grains won’t melt the snow or ice, they may provide a better grip on icy surfaces. Kitty litter and ashes are another option but can be messy when the snow begins to melt.
- Use salt sparingly. One heaping coffee mug of salt is enough to cover 250 feet or roughly two parking spaces.