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5 Ideas for Environmentally Friendly Snow Removal

June 2, 2022
5 Ideas for Environmentally Friendly Snow Removal
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Removing snow in the wintertime, and dealing with nuisance icy surfaces, can be time-consuming and difficult. Many companies opt for using harsh chemicals that pose a danger to the environment, and which may not even effectively melt ice during freezing temperatures.

At Earth Development, we use the safest and most effective reagents in our work, whether catering for businesses or homeowners across Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and beyond. We also know the most environmentally friendly ways to melt ice and how to protect your lawn and plants in the process of removing snow and ice.

With that in mind, we think it’s important to explore some of the best eco-friendly snow melt you can use at home to help reduce ice formation and increase friction on your outdoor surfaces this winter. The following products are great to use as a last resort or in an emergency, and many of them might easily be found around your home.

Five Best Ideas for Eco Snow Removal

Looking for an eco-friendly deicer? Let’s take a look at the five best environmentally friendly snow removal techniques that we know of.

1. Pick Up an Old-School Shovel

Sometimes, you can’t go wrong with the old, tried-and-tested method of shoveling snow. It’s a tough job, but it works, and it doesn’t require the use of any agents that may cause damage to nearby lawns, flowers, or wildlife.

As environmentally-friendly snow removal methods go, you just can’t go wrong with a shovel. However, it can take some time if there has been a lot of snowfall, and it doesn’t prevent the surfaces from icing over.

2. Give Up On Gasoline-Powered Snow Blowers and Use Electrical-Powered Ones Instead

As environmentally friendly sources of electricity become more common, the world is increasingly ditching gas and turning to electricity. That’s true for cars, and it’s even true for snowblowers!

Gas-powered snow blowers not only burn fossil fuels but also emit toxins into the atmosphere around your home. Electric devices, however, have the same effect without emitting those toxins – and are typically much cheaper to run every winter, too.

3. Apply Eco-Friendly Deicers and Traction-Boosting Agents

An important part of snow removal is the laying of traction-boosting agents. These are designed to make surfaces less slippery for pedestrians, and there are many environmentally friendly options.

Sand and Wood Chips

Sand Snow Removal

Sand and wood chips are possibly the most eco-friendly option you can choose. While neither of these products actually melt snow, they serve the purpose of making snowy and icy ground grippier.

Simply spread sand and wood chips around an icy surface and do so evenly. There’s no need to be sparing, either – the chips and sand are easy to clean after the snow melts. This is ideal for last-minute treatment, ensuring you can safely walk on pavements badly affected by ice.

Ground Coffee

Ground coffee is a better option than birdseed in that it won’t cause plants to grow in the spring if you don’t clean it up properly. It’s also more likely that you’ll have coffee grounds at home and ready to use.

The problem? You probably don’t have enough! For ground coffee to be truly effective, you’re probably going to need a


Birdseed for Snow Removal

Birdseed is another great option…but you might need quite a lot of it. Laying birdseed over frozen ground increases grip on the surface, and even if more ice freezes on top, the seed will make the ground less even and smooth. That’s perfect as a quick solution for frozen ground.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that those seeds could easily become plants in the springtime! Make sure you clean up the seed once the ice and snow have melted, or you might be surprised with wildflowers growing between the paving cracks.


Brine is remarkably similar to many deicing agents used professionally. It’s not as good, but it can certainly do a decent temporary job.

Any kind of brine should work. As long as it is a mixture of salt and water, you can expect the salt in the liquid to help melt the ice and prevent further ice formation…unless the temperatures go too low.

Beet Juice

Beet juice is also surprisingly effective! It is even being used in professional settings thanks to its ability to stop ice from forming. It is often used as a pre-wetting liquid, and when combined with salt and sand, it can seriously reduce your chances of slipping.

If you have beet juice in your home, use it on the ground before adding salt or sand. That helps you reduce ice formation while increasing friction at the same time.

Clay Cat Litter

Clay Cat Litter for Snow Removal

Clay kitty litter is another great way of increasing friction on icy ground. Cat also absorbs water, so when any of the ice melts naturally, it will be absorbed by the clay and prevented from refreezing.

Alfalfa Meal

Not only does alfalfa meal help melt ice, but it’s also greater for increasing traction! Granted, it’s probably not something you already have in the home unless you are an avid gardener.

Alfalfa meal is a fertilizer that doesn’t smell bad, and which you shouldn’t need to worry about cleaning up afterward. Come springtime, the plants in your garden will appreciate it – so it’s always worth keeping some around for the winter!

4. Use Heated Driveways

If you are renovating your driveway and you’re excited by the thought of never having a frozen driveway ever again, then consider this exciting technology. Heated driveways require minimal maintenance, melting snow as soon as it lands and stopping water from freezing.

It’s important to consider the costs, however, as powering a heated driveway all through the window may be quite expensive.

5. Try Snow Melting Mats

A cheaper and more convenient alternative to heated driveways is a snow melting mat. These mats are made out of thermoplastics that can be left outdoors on your driveway and are typically less expensive to run. They have zero effect on your plants, lawn, and yard, and can effectively melt as much as two inches of snow every hour.

Get A Professional Job Done with Local Experts

It’s important to understand that all of these options are ideal for anyone who is stuck without any other way to melt ice. They’re great as backup options for alternatives, but they are not suitable for businesses who need to properly protect customers from slipping and falling.

Our eco snow removal services are popular with homeowners and businesses, and we have a range of environmentally safe ice melt for you to choose from.

At Earth Development, we use safe and environmentally friendly reagents that ensure your property is safely treated during the winter months. We’ll perform preventative deicing treatments to keep your driveways, parking lots, and pavements free from ice.

We also have a huge fleet of vehicles and tools to remove snow. So for a professional job that’s finished to the highest and safest standards, call Earth Development today!

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
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The amount of snow Minnesota gets each winter fluctuates, but it’s typically safe to expect a consistent amount throughout the winter months. Last year, did you have enough space on your property to store plowed snow?