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Green Snow Removal

Familiar sight, hey? Well, there's another snow storm coming this Sunday. So here's what you can do to be prepared... the green way!
1. Get an ergonomic shovel (you can tell by the curved handle)
2. Swap your road salt for Eco Traction (you won't believe the environmental benefits!)
3. Consider an electric snowblower instead of a gas-powered one.
They're all available at Home Depot (who lent us there expert Sean Fox to demonstrate in the video)

Why an ergonomic shovel?
Quite simply, it's better for your back. All those strain injuries that mess up the holidays and stress out emergency room staff? You can greatly reduce your chance of spending Christmas eve at the hospital by buying a shovel with a curved or bent handle. Many hardware stores sell them. The model we used in the video is a Garant.
In case you were wondering about price, here's a comparison:
* Garant Yukon ergonomic shovel $26.97 (little blue one)
* Garant Nordic shovel (regular) $12.97 (red one)

Can't afford a snowblower?
Try a sled-type shovel. The Garant brand one costs $39.97 (at Home Depot) and it will greatly hasten the snow removal process while protecting your back. This model is adjustable with three height selections for various sized members of your family.

This photo is from Noodad's site where he discusses snowblower etiquette...
Want a snowblower but don't have the $$$?
Consider an electric. It's certainly greener (although if there was EVER a time when global warming seemed like a good idea... just kidding!). You need an external electrical outlet and an extension chord. Oh, and a LOT less cash.
Here's how the price tags compare:
* Electric snowblower: $129 to $389
(depending on the size you pick)
*Gas-powered snow blowers $700 and up
However, there is one pretty big difference when it comes to performance: Electric snowblowers are good for light, fluffy snow, NOT ice or heavy snow. And you can only clear as far as your extension chord rolls out. So get a long one.

And finally, Eco Traction.
Okay, I'm sorry, I must take a moment. This stuff is incredible. It's the roadsalt version of sliced bread. I cannot wax eloquent enough about it.
Eco Traction is made from a volcanic mineral. This means that it's completely natural. Not just that, it actually HELPS the environment instead of degrading it.
* Safe for pets, plants, kids and wildlife
* Absorbs toxins from lawns and lakes
* Melts ice using solar radiation (its dark colour warms up the mineral and causes ice to melt)
* Can be swept up and re-used

Here's the story behind Eco Traction.

An Idea Born from a Neighbourhood Tragedy

In 2004, when our founder Mark Watson's 8-year old Cocker Spaniel "Grover" died suddenly from lymphoma cancer, he was heartbroken and saddened. Shortly thereafter when his neighbours 2-year old Labrador Retriever and a third neighbour's dog (an 11 year-old mixed breed) also suddenly succumbed to cancer, he became alarmed and committed to finding out more.

After discussing the string of pet deaths with his vet, he was referred to a veterinarian oncologist who suggested that the Lymphoma may have been triggered by a toxin in the environment. The oncologist mentioned that such diagnoses were on the increase and suggested that the cause could be linked to the toxins contained in the ice melting chemicals that were inadvertently licked from the paws of dogs after winter walks.

After some vigilant research Mark discovered that the rock salt used by his municipality on roads, was not the same as the salt served at the dinner table. Not only does un-purified rock salt contain traces of toxic heavy metals such as mercury and lead, but it is also frequently mixed with an anti-caking agent called ferrocyanide.

Apparently most municipalities in North America use ferrocyanide as an anti- caking agent to facilitate the spreading of rock salt and to prevent clumping. These ice melter toxins are known to irritate dogs who lick their paws after winter walks and ingest them in unhealthy quantities.

I got that from the Eco Traction website. You really should go check it out. Oh, and I checked with our own city councillors to see if we use ferrocyanide. Alan deSousa did not directly address the question (i.e. he could not say yes or no) but he did assure me that the city is working with Environment Canada to uphold all safety guidelines.

Meanwhile, I'd like to hear from you. Would you be willing to change your snow removal habits? In what way and why? Leave me a comment or call our talkback line (514) 597-5626

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