Friday, September 5, 2014

"Nice Bucket" Battery Challenge.... 365 schools, businesses, government offices in 31 days.... October Challenge

Sno-vember is now settled in.  Ready or not?  The campaign finished strong and we know it from our October activity.  I am happy to report that we reached an all time record by a long shot.  More importantly our challenge reached a wide and diverse audience. We went well beyond our previous regional audience and even made its way to the floor of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  That is no surprise since the engagement from the east coast has been strong.

So in closing.... the "Nice Bucket Battery Challenge" did not quite go "Viral" as my friend and press release writer Anthony Neeley had hoped.  Forward progress is progress and we surely feel glad you came along with us.  We hope you took action.

Today we launched another "channel" for our followers to reach us at on Shopify.  Choice is a good thing.  You will find a fresh look at some familiar products and perhaps some better pricing options. Take a look at:    

If you like the Amazon experience we have not changed a thing other than the direct web address.

As always thank you to those who support our cause.


Don Sherman

Nice Bucket Update.....Whoa, we're half way there

I've been told by a friend that inquiring minds want to know how we are doing with the challenge. Here is an update at mid October.  We know that the message is out and that people are responding. On a local level we know that schools all over the Metro Detroit area and beyond have taken up the Nice Bucket Challenge.  The Michigan Green Schools program awards points to schools working on the 2014-2015 goals for engaging in an activity like recycling batteries.

We have had calls and emails requesting information on locations that will accept batteries.  We have made some suggestions in the blog below and refer you to your local government offices for information on what services are available in your community.  We have also made some suggestions on some big box retailers who offer battery recycling.  We don't necessarily encourage "group" collections but would prefer that the collection habit be formed at home/office and then disposed of as such.  Group collections may make for a bigger showing of an outcome but can be more difficult to manage.  It might be a good idea to have a tally chart in your school that allows each contributor to show their recycling results and then collectively see the overall group effort.  In any event if your past that phase and need assistance in how to properly dispose of your collection then please contact me directly at 877-752-6626.

On a national level.... we received word from our Green schools partners in Massachusetts that their October newsletter which featured our Nice Bucket Battery Challenge efforts made it to the state representatives in their State House of Representatives.  You may not know this but the east coast states are very strong supporters of green/sustainable/environmental initiatives.  Thank you to our strong east coast friends! 

In closing let's keep our efforts focused all the way to the end of the challenge.  If we have created awareness, educated people, caused a shift and got half the people to listen to the message.... then we must be half way there.... ;) 

Thanks for your support on this important initiative! 


** This is NOT an ICE Bucket Challenge... read on...

By now we have all either participated in or seen many times over people taking the "ICE Bucket" challenge as a way to draw attention to "ALS" or Lou Gehrig's Disease.  The scientific name for this disease is a complicated looking Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.   As a kid I remember watching the famous speech giving by Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium back in the 1950's.   The attention drawn today to this famous speech reveals many details that had gone un noticed.  For example... when Gehrig was handed a plaque you can notice that he immediately takes it to the ground.  Deterioration of muscle and ability to lift even everyday items.  His speech... if you listen carefully... is showing the tell tale signs of muscle/motor skill deterioration.  If you haven't done the challenge or made a contribution yet to ALS... consider this your last chance.

I really must admit that this ALS challenge is what inspired me to write this blog.  What amazed me about it most was the power it had over everyday people.  Over.... and over... and then when you thought it was over... again another video or post challenging yet another Challenger.  So it is with the spirit of the ALS challenge that today I am officially launching the next morphed version...

The "Nice Bucket" Battery Challenge.

This isn't about raising funds for medical research or dumping a bucket of  ice filled water over your head.   Although later you will witness me attempt to do something admitted a knock off of this action.   DO NOT attempt this at home... as it will serve no purpose.  I do this only as a symbol and in the hope that we catch the spirit of the ALS Challenge.

So here we go....the "Nice" Bucket...

Back Story: 
Years ago we as humans did certain activities and simply did not know they were potentially harmful to human health.  People freely smoked cigarettes any where and everywhere.  My daughter asked me the other day... " Dad why do they have these little boxes on the arm rest (of an airplane)"?   Honey... people used to be able to smoke in the airplane while in flight... at their own leisure.  She replied... "Really Dad??  That's gross!".  When I was a kid growing up it was known that people were known to dump used motor oil into the most convenient storm sewer drain.   That is why signs appeared saying "NO DUMPING..." or in Grand Rapids Michigan a subtle reminder appears of a fish symbol painted in blue to act as a reminder where this storm run off will ultimately end up.  Some manufacturing companies policy for handling things like de-greasers,  paint solvents, and who knows what else was to.... take it out back of the plant and dump it... or take it out to the country side... find a land owner willing to take it in and  dump it.  This is why we have "Super Fund" clean up sites all around the United States today.  Is there one near you?

Current Issue:
While not on the same scale as industrial waste handling we need to consider what we are putting into the waste stream.  For years now there have been systems in place to recycle and dispose of automobile/industrial sized batteries.   When you change out  the used battery and take the old one back to the parts store it is required that you return the used core.   But what about the other batteries?

What's in them?  It depends on what your buying.  Lead acid, nickel metal hydride, or lithium ion?  How about mercury oxide?   This is what is in your typical AA , AAA, and 9 volts that we use to power up our toys.   Does this look the kind of stuff we should be throwing in our trash along side the leftover salad?

In fact... a healthy land fill consists of household refuse along with a good measure of compostable matter such as yard waste (lawn clippings and leaf material).  Just like a salad... there is a mixture of materials that make for a balanced load.   Would you consider putting materials that contain contaminants into this mix?  Of course not.... so lets start thinking about things like household batteries, spent over head light tubes, spent CFL's (twisty bulbs), paint, pesticides, used motor oil, mercury containing thermostats and such.   Now in a perfect world none of this would matter.   The landfill operator will tell you that there are safety measures built into the construction of their operations to securely house these items.  That is all well and good.  But what if that system fails or breaches?

I like the saying that a ounce of prevention for a pound of cure.  The simple act of keeping these contaminants out of the waste stream is just a good practice.  Not in your back yard?   Below is a list of Superfund cleanup sites across the US.  Check it out.

"Nice Bucket" Battery Challenge:
What makes a "Nice Bucket"? 
This is a simple representation of a bucket... really any container... that can be used as a "tool" to do something good.  If we were focusing on some other "action" it might be the "Nice Composting Bag Challenge. was born with the core mission of creating education, awareness and advocacy toward "green shifts" in the course of daily living.  We have never deviated from our core mission statement and so this challenge is straight forward.

We challenge every school, business, government office to take the "Nice Bucket" Battery Challenge.  In the next 30 days we want to here back from you with a statement or perhaps a photo showing your groups "green shift".

You can simply add a comment to the blogg post below OR visit our Facebook page to put up a post and photo.  We encourage you to do "challange" other schools, businesses, government offices or friends to in turn take the challenge.

Collection can be done with something as simple as an old shoe box or any plastic bucket placed in a visible location promoting the practice of recycling household batteries (AA, AAA, 9 volt, C, D....ect).

Next steps.... someone in your organization needs to be accountable for the proper disposal of the collected batteries.  Here in our area there is a wonderful system in place by the name of NOHAZ. This is a quarterly event set up to allow residents to come to a central location to dispose of household hazardous waste.  The operation is very efficient and responsible in the details of handling household hazardous materials.  The event is funded by a collation of local governments cooperating in the cost and a small gate charge for visitors.


If your not fortunate to to have access to collections like NOHAZ then you will need to do some of your own research.   Many of the large retailers who happen to sell products that are heavy battery users provide recycling stations in their entry ways.  Think big box retailers who sell lots of electronic gadgets.

We offer a pretty cool service provided by Veolia Environmental Services.  It is a prepaid recycling service. They provide the container and directions.  When the container is full... just slap on the return address label and the bucket will be returned to their recycling facilities for proper handling.  Remember some simple truisms on this topic.  If it were easy.... every one would be doing it... and there is no "free lunch".  These processes are labor intensive and heavy overhead.  NOHAZ is very effective... but not free.  Same the with Veolia Recycle paks.


Purchase a Veolia Recyclepak Link

During the remainder of 2014 we will provide a rebate of one half the shipping costs of this unit if purchased from our web store.   After the order is placed we will credit your purchase with one half the shipping cost. Kind of our way of meeting you half way on your attempt to make that "green shift".

Purchase a Busch Systems Battery Bin Link

Battery Buckets are available on our web store and we are providing free shipping on these for purchases over $35 or for Amazon Prime customers.  A portion of our proceeds goes to support green education causes.

Remember.... I always like to say.... when it comes to batteries....

"Don"t chuck it... throw it in... the battery bucket..."  ;)

Post your organization's success stories to this blog by leaving comments about your progress
and shout out to challenges to friends and family.

OR to our Facebook page or Twitter page just click the links below.

Link to Facebook page

Link to Twitter page

Post your shout outs and challenges to friends, family, co-workers on your facebook or twitter and then share the post to our pages.  Tell the world getting it done!

* Do not handle leaking batteries.  Leaking contents can cause skin irritation/burns.  Do not place leaking batteries into your bin.  Suggestion method is to wear protective glove and eye protection.  Isolate the leaking battery in a plastic bag with zip seal.  Promptly  find a safe disposal method.

List of interesting Battery Bucket buyers:

Portland Trail Blazers (Only NBA LEED certified  arena),  Beats by Dre,  Philadelphia Museum of Art,  US National Park- MT. Hood,  Focus on the Family, CNN News,  Universal Studios- California, Direct TV, Pacific Gas and Electric, Operation Access, Climate Reception, Rackspace Hosting, Almacen San Diego Logistics, American Girl, EMQ Families First, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rock Church, Mr. B (Detroit), VCU Health Systems (Virginia Commonwealth), Rethink L & E, SocialChorus and Washington Soldiers Home.  

Shout out to all of the above as "early adopters.... OR Trail Blazers... if you will... ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making some noise...Week of July 4th, 2014

Hey... it's time to celebrate... the best of summer 2014 is upon us!  Happy week of July 4th!   I say it this way since many of you are off for summer vacation and a well deserved break.  We to are looking forward to some time away from work for some fun in the sun.  There are over 514 fireworks displays scheduled in Michigan this year... so says (see link below).

So to carry the celebration further I'd like to take a moment to report to you that 2014 has turned into a break out year for .   April of 2014 was a record sales month since we changed over to our e commerce platform and partnership with .  This was planned and expected since I have always said our Christmas is in April.  The month we celebrate Earth Day, the arrival of spring (on the calender at least) and Arbor Day.  So naturally with the focus on our Mother Earth we expected our customers to click and shop for "Earth-minded" products.  Our mission has always been and will be to promote education, awareness and advocacy for "Green Shifts" in the course of daily living.  Our product offerings give you that choice over items that you might find in big box stores that are likely not focused on "ecological/healthy" alternatives.    During this time we were able to provide financial assistance to the Michigan Green Schools Awards and Celebration for Oakland County Michigan.   Additionally we supported the event with a display table and prizes for some of the lucky guests.

If the past is any predictor of the future then May and June should have been a calming period for us.  Again... happy to report that May was our best month ever... and then now June has exceeded May. 
All of this is good news since the word is spreading across the country about our unique mission of providing alternatives in the course of daily living and providing a portion of our profits to support green education.  So it is truly a grass roots initiative that our customers are sharing with others and leading to our green shoots of growth.

Another event we were able to provide a donation of goods to was the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Detroit Chapter Green Schools Committee Art/Coloring Contest.   Students were encouraged to enter their creation and top selections were recognized at a luncheon.

One final thought for June 2014... get outside... do something different... enjoy the best of what nature provides to us in the summer.   My favorite place to visit is the small Northern Michigan town of Glen Arbor.  This town was recently recognized as the most beautiful place in the United States by Good Morning America.  That kind of recognition can be a double edged sword since the sleepy little town is now being flooded with new adventure seekers looking to see what the news is all about. My favorite little shop has in town is "Cherry Republic".   The founder had a vision to create all things cherry with a list too long to get into in this short venue.  I love the vision so much that we now carry a select sampling of Cherry Republic products in our store.

My favorite so far is the Cherry Salsa which is a winner in my household.  It never stays around long.  My point here is that if you have time... get up their and visit... and if you don't... visit for our product offerings and we will deliver it right to your door.  Either way... it will be a treat!

Enjoy summer... !


Don Sherman
President and Founder of



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Earth Week 2014

You'll notice by this months title that after careful consideration it has been determined that drawing attention to the condition and care of the earth for just one day isn't cutting it.   As such.... we begin the movement toward "Earth Week" 2014.    I find it interesting that like any other action in life that we focus on for a short term (day) that it is soon forgotten if not the very next day.   Therefore... the push for a week... to keep the ball moving or to push the needle on the meter just a little longer we have Earth Week.  Maybe next year we'll go for Earth month?

How is April 2014 finding you?  Remember... it seems like a distant memory now... the lovely spring of 2012... the winter that wasn't?   Mother nature showed off her display so early that there were no tulips for the tulip festival.  They had done their thing to soon... fooled out of the cover of the earth by mild temperatures.   I remember thinking then... well... if this is what global warming is about... then what is the harm in mild winters?   Gone are the days of the bitter cold, snow, and all that comes with it.  Wrong again! 

I don't want to spend much time talking about the return of "real winter".   I know we are still very sensitive to the subject.  In fact this morning we woke to find an additional 3 inches of snow that put us over the record for snow fall in the Detroit Michigan area going back as far as records are kept.  I think the record was set in the late 1890's.  Now we can say "Woohoo... we won... we set the record".
Not really the one I was hoping to be part of!

So the debate rages on about this controversial issue and the two camps are more divided then ever over the issue of "global warming".  One side says... it's  a cycle and human activity has little or nothing to do with it at all.  While the other side show's facts and statistics about carbon emmisions from the industrialization of the world in the past 100 years and sounds a warning alarm.

I find myself kind of caught up in the middle of two camps... almost like political parties that cannot agree.  As time goes on I have gravitated toward a place of putting the "global warming" label aside for one that I believe is more accurate and difficult to contradict.  Is there anyone who has not been effected by the mood swings of Mother Earth?   Like a person experiencing mid life changes our Mother Earth seems to be going through "The Change".   I guess the term in the main stream is climate change.

This week in our own region in South Eastern Michigan we went from a slow creep out of winter.  Finally seeing the mounds of snow piled up at last recede into the ground.  I have never seen people more enthusiastic about getting out of the house and into cleaning up around the yard.   The spell was broken and we could not be held back.   Shorts and flip flops replaced flannel and boots.  Then with almost no warning.... we witnessed something we never see much around here in early April.  A front passed over and bringing with it hail, wind, and rain like we have never seen in our lifetime.  It left most of us amazed and dazed.  It left others with power outages,  tree's uprooted, and property damaged.    And just when we thought it was all behind us... our temperamental Mother dropped the temps and some more snow.

I want to thank the hundreds of customers who have supported our efforts and given solid footing and a new direction in leading the green ecommerce marketplace.  Our goal is to provide high quaility green product offerings at a resonable price backed up with convenient to the door shipping all done through an effective e commerc platform.  At this time we have built a strong relationship with the millions of customers who click on the premier platform of   They have responsed in kind by asking for our products to be delivered to their doors throughout the United States.   Specifically we have a strong following on the west coast and are pleased that those in the hot-beds of green living are choosing us as their provider of choice.  We also get a strong audience on the east coast as well. 

Our battery buckets have made it into the Philidelphia Museum of Art.

And into the award-winning industrial design and branding firm
Fuseproject in San Franciso.

And in Quora, Inc. which was founded by two former Facebook employees.  They are located in Mountain View California.  They are a question and answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users

 Am I banging the drum?? Hey... why not... it is better than reading about your obituary.          

On the fund raising side of the company we have been able to provide contributions of cash, donations of goods and contributions of time to many local organizations.  This past year we were able to provide a financial contribtution for the victims of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas regions of the Philippines.  Climate change?  Maybe?

We were able to provide a contribution to a very active climate change group in Interfaith Power and Light.

On a local level we continue to reach out to Michigan Green Schools and plan to continue to provide our ability to engage in alternative fund raising for those who are ready to engage.

Last but certainly not least... I want to thank our product partners for providing high quality, unique green products not found in the big box store.  I hope it stays that way.

Soy Clean Products-  Brooklyn, IA

Wash Safe Industries - Harwich, MA

Busch Systems-  Barrie, Ontario, Canada

BioBag USA-  Palm Harbor, FL

Trellis Earth-  Wilsonville, OR

Mirror Lake Organics-  Almont, MI

Cherry Republic-  Glenn Arbor, MI

Maxi Container-  Romulus-  MI

Higher Grounds Trading Company- Traverse City, MI

Eco Bag- Ossining, NY

Without innovative and creative thinking minds who bring us these offerings of green and health alternatives to our course of daily living... we'd just take what were given from the big boxes like "Stuff Mart".

Happy Earth Week... take some time this week to pay special attention to our beautiful garden gift in Mother Earth.... ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter 2014... Deep Freeze and the Polar Vortex...

The old saying goes... "be careful what you wish for..."  you might just get it!  Many of us look forward to the beginning of a new year.   To many of us it represents a fresh start, a new chapter or perhaps a clean sheet of paper.   With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season behind us we can finally get back into a new groove now that kids are back to school.  Right?  NOT in 2014! 

Nobody mentioned the words "Polar Vortex" before as far back as I can remember.  I even took a weather class back in the day at CMU and never heard anyone mention a "Polar Vortex".  Well it appears these things are for real since we are now recovering from the nations second one in this short year.   So what does this have to do with anything?  Let me tell you about the conversations in my household and place of business these past few weeks.   How many days can you miss school from a snow/ice event or below zero cold snap?  That seems to be up for debate.   At this point our district has had 11 days off and that my friends is a few too many days according to the rules we know.   All that being said it will be interesting to run up to the end of the school year to see what if anything is done to account for the excessive days.  FYI... I found this handy little link that calculates snow days in your zip code.  Try it!

If we were to believe everything our parents/grandparents tell us... they for sure would NOT have missed most if any of these days.  Are today's generation too soft?  Is it all just an over reaction to the possibilities of what might happen if we venture out in the cold or snow?   I myself use a simple albeit a sad tool in trying to make the determination.   I recall a snowy morning not too many years ago that some might have questioned why school had not been called.  Yes the road were snowy but not excessively so.  Plow trucks were doing their desired best attempt to clear the way or motorists.  Unfortunately there was a horrific crash that led to fatalities of students being transported to school.  Hindsight is 20/20 and your darned if you do... and darned if you don't make the call.  I suppose changing the decision of that day would be easy with the new information.   Sometimes you just can't see it coming. 

I will use that to overlay into my main point for this beginning of the year report on and our progress in the beginning of our 4th year.  Many of you know from past reports that our focus point and business model has evolved into an e commerce strategy.  I am pleased to report to you that 2013 was a record year in growth of sales and new customers clicking/purchasing from our "Little Green Store...".

What we really didn't see coming is the interest on a much bigger national stage.  While most of our efforts and attended events have been right here in Metro Detroit Michigan we have found most of our buyers/shoppers coming from just about every where else.   That is good news in that the message and interest level is now proven and turning the wheels of growth.  Here is what we have seen in 2013 in the way of top region activity:

26 % West Coast-California, Washington, Oregon
15%  Southern States- Texas,  Florida, Georgia, North Carolina
20% East Coast-  New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts
14% Midwest-  Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana
25% All other

Final thing.... in the last quarter of 2013 we were happy to make a contribution to a cause that was very meaning to me on a personal level.  We chose to support "The Philippines American Foundation" in their fundraising efforts for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan "Yolonda".   This had special meaning to me personally since a client and personal friend in Dennis Vista passed away suddenly around the time of this calamity.  Dennis introduced me to the kind and generous culture of the Philippine's.  I later discovered that he had been working on building a mango farm back in his birth place located in the Philippines.  He had created jobs in a green industry and in the end was doing what he loved.

Spring time is just around the corner... right after the next "Polar Vortex".   Keep the faith!

Best Regards,

Don Sherman
President and Founder of