When it’s icy and snowy outside the one thing we all want is to figure out how to get out of driveway safely. That’s why many people turn to salt and snowmelts made of chemicals to melt the ice coated porch steps. While these methods might help to quickly melt ice and snow they aren’t very friendly for you, your pets or your plants. To keep everyone safe try other methods to battle the snow.

Every year 12 million tons of salt is used to de-ice community roads. That’s not even including salt used on driveways! Once the ice melts and forms a mixture with the salt it has to go somewhere- usually into drains and onto lawns. That can make for a very non-earth friendly situation.

Avoiding salt and chemicals in your personal use can help minimize the amount that gets into your water supply. It can also help you keep your car in tiptop shape since salt can corrode your vehicle.

Sometimes you can take salt and ice melt products completely out of the equation. Try sand, kitty litter or sawdust to help you not wipe out when walking down the steps and the driveway.

When looking for products to help you battle the snow be wary of anything that lists sodium chloride as an ingredient. Any de-icing product can claim to be “eco-friendly” but if it includes sodium chloride it definitely isn’t.

Many people are drawn to alternative products because of the harm chemicals can cause their pets. Dogs and cats might eat the chemicals which can make them very sick. A good rule of thumb is that if an ice melt is pet friendly then it’ll probably be child-friendly too. Think of all the snowballs and snowmen your kids build, you definitely don’t want them to come in contact with dangerous chemicals while making snow angels.

Even when buying eco-friendly ice-melts you’re still going to face issues. There really isn’t a completely green product on the market yet. Snowmelts are so effective because they’re composed of powerful chemicals. So take your purchase with a grain of salt ;) .