Why Our Green Approach to Snow Matters

Written by Greenwise Team
Published on November 2, 2018
We Chicagoans have no illusions about winter. We know snow and ice are inevitable. It’s how we approach these wintry conditions that matters, and as you should expect, Greenwise has a proactive approach that is both environmentally and pet friendly.
road salt snow removal
CHOOSE A SAFER ALTERNATIVE TO ROCK SALT! Snow clearing is a dirty business and most companies treat it as an emergency response service with a focus on clearing snow after it has accumulated. Reacting to snow this way leads to dumping lots of rock salt and other environmentally damaging materials on top of snow and ice build-up to get rid of it. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we apply more than 20 million tons of sodium chloride on our roadways every winter. That’s about 13 times more salt than is used by the entire food processing industry. The chloride in road salt flows into our lakes, streams, and groundwater. Plus, road salt can erode the soil, and damage trees and vegetation as far as 650 feet away. That’s hugely toxic to the environment. We don’t want to add any toxins to our environment in the green or white season, and we are proud that our reputation and environmentally friendly approach earned us recognition as one of the “10 Best Snow Removal Services in the U.S.” by a writer in the trucking/snow removal equipment industry. Our ice melt is the only one cleared for use around LEED-certified buildings, making it safe for people, pets, and the environment. Here are four ways to turn a white winter ‘greener’ with a proactive approach to removing snow:
  1. Pre-treat surfaces when ice and snow are in the forecast. Keep an eye on the weather. Applying ice melt before a storm hits, so that the snow can’t stick to the ground, is more efficient than waiting until after the snow has fallen and cuts down on the amount of ice melt needed – and wasted. Think snow prevention instead of snow clearing.
  2. Use environmentally friendly ice melt instead of rock salt. Cities use rock salt because it’s cheap. But rock salt’s public safety benefits come with ecological drawbacks: Salt is bad for your pets, will kill your grass and plants, is corrosive to cars and will pollute nearby streams and rivers. A recent scientific study found that 70 percent of the salt applied to roads stays within the region’s watershed. Once it gets there, the contamination is difficult and expensive to remove.
  3. Don’t let the snow build up. Shovel before the snow reaches more than 3″. It’s easier to shovel 3″ of snow three times a day than it is to shovel 9″ of snow all at once. Let Mother Nature help with the grunt work by doing snow clearing early in the day. The radiant heat of the sun will warm the surface to keep it safe and dry.
  4. Replace asphalt driveways and concrete walkways with permeable surfaces. Permeable pavements allow water to drain through surfaces where it would normally pool. Because there’s no standing water on permeable surfaces, ice doesn’t form in freezing weather, virtually eliminating the need for deicer application. And because the permeable pavement is porous and does not become an impermeable ice block, it is not subject to damage caused by the freeze/thaw cycle, which creates costly repairs every year on asphalt and concrete surfaces.
snow removal
PREVENTION PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN MAKING SNOW REMOVAL GREENER AND LESS EXPENSIVE Greenwise offers the total package—environmentally and pet-friendly snow removal solutions and 24/7 customer service. We offer several snow removal packages, so you can choose which one best fits your home or business. No matter which package you choose, we will provide 24-hour customer service on our dedicated Greenwise Snowline when our routes are activated. We provide ongoing email servicer alerts and snow updates and keep you posted on when our crews will be arriving at your doorstep. At Greenwise, we take the worry and the work out of winter with our proactive, green approach.