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Low Salt Diet Recommended for Sidewalks



For years, doctors have told people to stick to a low-salt diet. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), our waters should follow the same advice.  When snow and ice start to accumulate on Minnesota roads, parking lots and sidewalks, one of the most common reactions is to apply salt, which contains chloride, a water pollutant. When snow and ice melt, most of the salt goes with it, washing into our lakes, streams and rivers. Once in the water, there’s no way to remove the chloride, and it becomes a permanent pollutants.

There are many ways to reduce salt use while maintaining high safety standards:

  • unnamed-1More salt does not mean more melting.Use less than four pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet (an average parking space is about 150 square feet). One pound of salt is approximately a
    heaping 12-ounce coffee mug.
  • Shovel.The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be. Break up ice with an ice scraper and decide whether application of a de-icer or sand is even necessary to maintain traction.
  • 15 degrees is too cold for most salt to work.Most salts stop working around this temperature. Instead, use sand for traction.
  • Sweep up extra salt.If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement, it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away.

Finally, consider changing the direction of your drain spouts so melting water doesn’t run onto walkways and driveways where ice can form.



Green Tip: Ideas for giving greener gifts

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When searching for the great holiday gifts for your family and friends, have you ever considered ways to also have less of an impact on the environment?   When shopping for gifts, consider items that meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Give non-materials goods, such as activities, gift certificates, tickets, memberships or making a donation to an organization on someone’s behalf.
  • Products with green attributes, including those that are locally made, reused, made with recycled content, made with less-toxic ingredients, and minimally packaged.
  • Help someone take action to protect the environmentby giving them high-quality, reusable and durable goods that reduce waste, protect water or conserve energy.
  • Support green businesses.Find businesses that sell used goods or offer repair services though the Choose to Re-Use Directory, or shop at a business recognized as a Hennepin County Environmental Partner for their efforts to recycle and divert organic waste.
  • Repair a favorite item.Small appliances, electronics, lamps, fans, toys, decorations, clothing and more can be repaired at a Fix-It Clinic, or look for a local businesses that offers repair services for specialty items like jewelry, shoes, electronics and more.

And remember to consider how your gifts are packaged. Most gift wrap is not recyclable because it contains a lot of dye, glitter, foil or is low quality, making it difficult to recycle into new paper. Consider using reusable gift boxes or bags, fabric, and recycled-content and recyclable paper when giving gifts.

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week

May 20 through May 26 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week, not only in Minnesota, but across the nation.  This year’s theme is “The Three P’s of EAB: Prepare, Protect, and Plant”

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