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Guide and tip

How to de-ice in an eco-friendly way

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According to Environment Canada, de-icing salts used by municipalities “pose a risk to plants, animals and the aquatic environment.” But are there other available options you can use for clearing your walkways and stairs of ice? The answer is yes, and here are some examples.

Read this to:

  • Find simple and, at times, unusual solutions

  • Question our winter habits

  • Prepare for winter in an eco-friendly manner

1. Grab your shovels!

You can save time and effort by grabbing your shovel as soon as it starts snowing to prevent ice formation.

  • This is one of the greenest ways to clear your home walkway of snow and ice all winter long. Wait too long and you’ll have a much tougher time, not to mention that you’ll be less efficient.
    • For bonus points, if you have neighbours with reduced mobility, why not give them a hand?

  • For better traction and to prevent falls, scatter bird seed or coffee grains
    • Extra bonus points if the bird seed is organic and if the coffee grains are fair trade!

2. De-icing… reasonably

To avoid falls once ice has settled in, you may have to resort to de-icing products. Here are some tips on how to limit their harmful effects:

  • Opt for a coloured product to avoid over-salting.
    • Apply the product just before snowfall to minimize the amount needed.

    • Time permitting, sweep away any excess product to prevent it from contaminating nearby waterways.

    • Pay attention to temperature indications on the product packaging: many products don’t work in extreme cold.

  • Opt for food-based products, like beet juice, which lowers the freezing point of water.
    • If you’ve used this solution at home, let us know! Our Family Farmers would be delighted to learn that their organic baskets are serving yet another purpose!

    • A company in France has created a snow melting product that uses grape skins. So if you live near a vineyard, you might want to learn more…

🧊🍷 Did you know?

Transport Quebec uses beet juice on a stretch of Highway 20 in the Bas St-Laurent region. A beet-derived product is also used on certain highways in Estrie, and Montreal has tried it out on some of its sidewalks. In New Brunswick, several contractors are using organic beet juice.

3. Equipment to help us live with ice

Sometimes ice gets the upper hand, but do we really need to de-ice? Wear a good pair of boots, fitted with ice-traction cleats if needed. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the greenest!

To avoid sweeping ice under the rug (so to speak), we invite you to read the following articles. They offer some surprising options for de-icing in an environmentally responsible way. It seems that kitchen utensils are sometimes more useful than ice picks!