You can’t assume that winter is the one season where you have little impact on a frozen environment. During winter, a lot of chemicals, dirt, debris, and waste are collected along with the snow, and as soon as the spring thaw hits these pollutants are washed away into local storm drains and water courses. Even before the thaw, exhaust and other harmful substances can impact air quality and human health. Here are some steps you can take this winter to help preserve the environment.
Use an Eco-Friendly Deicer
Some deicers contain harmful chemicals, while others that seem to be natural, such as common rock salt, are not safe. Most deicers can be harmful to pets, wildlife, playing children, and the environment. Check the labels for eco-friendly, pet-safe brands. Even then, use them sparingly. Follow the manufacturer recommendations. Don’t forget that common dirt or sawdust can provide traction on slippery ice while being much more eco-friendly.
Electric, Not Fuel
If you can, try using an electrical or battery-powered snow blower. This will reduce the fossil-fuel hydrocarbons that are going into the air to damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. You and your neighbors will also breathe much easier while snow removal is taking place. Inside the home, never use fuel-based heaters. These can lead to a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide as well as harmful exhaust. Even if you’re using a fireplace or woodstove for heat, have a carbon monoxide detector installed just to be safe.
Pick Up Debris
Pick up any kind of trash before it becomes part of the deep freeze. This is especially true around trash bins where litter is most likely to accumulate. If you have outdoor equipment like boats, lawnmowers, or project automobiles, be sure they’re fully winterized and stored indoors to prevent leaching rust, heavy metals, or oils and grease into the soil as the ice melts. If you don’t have the internal space, consider renting a storage unit from a business like Walsh Moving & Storage where you can keep your things safe and dry during the cold season.
Maintain Your Heating System
Inefficient appliances are big wasters of fuel or electricity. This means you’re either squandering limited resources like natural gas, or drawing needless energy from the grid that power companies have to work harder to replace. Your fuel and electrical providers work harder, releasing their own pollutants into the environment. Whether you’re using a traditional stand-alone furnace or an electrical HVAC system, have it checked when the cold weather hits to be sure it’s performing optimally.
The long months of winter can also add a lot of pollutants to the air and ground. Don’t let the focus on staying warm or planning for the holidays let your environmental concerns lapse.