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... ;)