Snowshovel vs. Plow: Staying Green or Risking Health?

by Matty ByloosFebruary 15, 2016

Is the Environment Worth Risking Your Health by Hand-Shoveling Snow?

You’re a responsible homeowner, so of course, you understand your obligations regarding snow and ice accumulation on the sidewalk in front of your house. But before you get out there, old school metal snow shovel in hand, and get into the backbreaking rhythm of snow shoveling, consider your health and safety first.

Old school manual snow removal may be the best choice for the environment, but it may not be the best choice for you and your health. Here’s why.

Physical exertion in cold weather can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate while constricting blood vessels, robbing your heart of oxygen and potentially triggering a heart attack. If any of the following conditions apply to you, then it is probably best for you to leave the shoveling to someone else:

  • You are out of shape
  • You are elderly
  • You have cardiovascular issues (treated or untreated)
  • You lead a sedentary life
  • You have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • You are a smoker

That, or consider employing another, less-physically demanding method to get rid of snow and ice on your sidewalk and driveway. Keep in mind though, that pushing a heavy snow blower can be just as taxing.

Man with snow shovel cleans sidewalks in winter. Winter time in Europe. Young man in warm winter clothes

Snow Removal Service

Now that we have your attention, can we suggest that at the very least, you consider hiring a neighborhood teenager to shovel your walk and driveway?

If you live in a neighborhood without teenagers (or with teenagers who couldn’t be bothered to earn extra money through manual labor because they’re part of a generation that’s just not into it), then consider searching the Internet or yellow pages for a snow removal service in your area.

Though not as green a solution, employing a service is still greener than buying a snow blower or plow that only gets used on your property.

Snow Blowers and Plows

If you must purchase a personal snow blower, remember to keep two things in mind: they are not all created equal in terms of the physical exertion it takes to operate them in deep snow, and they are not all created equal in terms of their environmental friendliness.

Consumer watchdog organizations and publications have ratings for the efficiency, longevity, and environmental friendliness of most brands and models. If you’re planning to purchase a blow attachment for your tractor or vehicle, consider going in on one with some neighbors.
Worker in yellow winter jacket removes snow near his garage with a snow throwing machine at a sunny winter day. Clouds of snow dust around. Seasonal photo

Snow Removal Tips May Save Your Back and Maybe Your Life

If after reading this article you are still committed to rolling up your sleeves, wading into the yard, and manually removing winter’s accumulation with an old fashioned wood handled implement, we understand. There are very few things as immediately gratifying as manual labor on a crisp, clear day.

Keep in mind that it isn’t cheating to get one of those newfangled plastic blade snow shovels. They don’t last as long and won’t work on ice, but they are lighter and the snow doesn’t stick to them. Also, keep in mind that it isn’t cheating to push the snow off your walk with a shovel. You don’t have to lift every single shovelful, throwing it clear of the walk- or driveway!


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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.

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