Community Orchard update

Leaf Mulching day @ the Viewfield Community Orchard

We had a brilliant day at the Orchard on Sunday – the leaf bays were emptied and compacted and the Viewfield was picked clean of leaves by our fantastic volunteers.

We caned up the raspberries, gave the orchard a good tidy and mulched all the trees and herb beds!

The mulch is free for the taking so head along and help yourselves to the pile beside the bays at the Viewfield.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along and made this possible, without the hard work and dedication from our volunteers this would not have been possible.

A special thank you to Robbie Barron who came along with his ride on lawnmower and Gordon Shearer who saved us a lot of work with his digger, it’s looking like we might have one more day of leaf collecting this year and we’ll let you know the dates shortly!

Aspiring green thumb? If you would like to help out at the orchard, or with Green Hive in general, take a look at our facebook page to see what’s happening and send us a message, or pop us an email to

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Want to join the Board?

We’re always looking for people to join the Board. This is a specially exciting point in our development and right now we’d love it if individuals with management and management committeee experience were to join and add their skills to those the Board already has. Although it’d be great if you were already involved with us, or had a general interest in the environment and our town’s development, we’re specially keen to recruit a new treasurer and a company secretary. So you don’t have to be a member to be considered.

Take a look at this description of what’s involved and get in touch with Simon Noble on 07766 237312 or

board member spec

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Volunteer Spotlight – what’s it like to volunteer with Green Hive?

Margaret has been part of Green Hive for the last year with the Bumblebags group, community orchard, New Friends and Natter meet ups and lots more! This is what she has to say about Green Hive.

“The ‘green hive’ offers a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and to experience the warmth and friendship that can sometimes be missing in our ‘fast’ society. Many people, including myself, have benefited greatly from the input and social intellect which comes with being a part of such a community. The Green Hive offers help when needed, guidance and support and support in knowing oneself and gaining a greater degree of self-esteem. We meet on a regular basis, chat, drink tea and coffee and have a great time using the sewing machines, which gives one a feeling of doing something useful. If you feel like a natter and some friendship, a good cup of tea and social interaction, come along and make some new friends.”
– Your friend, Margaret Rosemary Coyne-Dahm

Margaret removing Himalayan balsam from long Nairn Riverside

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Dates for your diary!

Queens Park Bulb Planting
Sunday 10th November, 2pm-3.30pm
Meet at the corner of George Street and Anne Crescent

In partnership with Keeping Nairnshire Colourful. Come help plant spring flowering bulbs. No experience necessary, just turn up and join in. We will provide gloves and there will be some snacks and drinks afterwards.

Queens Park Project Steering Group meet up
Thursday 14th November, 7-8pm
Army Cadets’ Hut, John Street

Do you live in Queens Park and would like to shape our work in your area? We will be meeting to look back at what has happened so far this year and make plans for our work in Queens Park and the Riverside for 2020. Get in touch with Kirsty to find out more.

‘New Friends and Natter’  

Friday 15th November
Friday 6th December
Green Hive Hub, Links Studios, Grant Street, Fishertown, 10am-1pm

Open doors at our hub space, a chance to socialise with other Green Hivers, have a nice cuppa and some cake. All welcome.

Workshop Thursdays
Every Thursday this month!
Green Hive Workshop, Balmakeith Industrial Estate, 11am-5pm

Get our plastics reforming and upcycling workshop in to shape. Sanding, cleaning and painting donated furniture, organising tools and the new workspace.

Community Orchard and Mulching day
Sunday 17th November
Meet at Viewfield Community Orchard at 12.30pm

It’s Autumn at Viewfield, and that means LEAVES! Lend a hand to collect leaves for the mulching project and help get the orchard ready for winter. Tools and gloves provided.

Bumblebags Sewing Group
Saturday 23rd November
Saturday 14th December
Green Hive Hub, Links Studios, Grant Street, Fishertown at 11am

Take part in our sewing group at the Green Hive hub, upcycle unwanted fabric to create reusable bags to be donated to local shops to reduce the number of plastic bags used in Nairn. Learn new skills and meet some new people.

Green Hive Community Hub Come and Talk
Saturday 30th November, 10am-2pm
Nairn Community Centre

Tell us your ideas for a Green Hive Hub! We will be at the community centre sharing ideas and options for our future development. Tell us what you would like to see Green Hive do next, help identify future activities and a main base for the organisation as we grow. More information below about this project.

For more information on any of these dates please contact us on or 07453912697.

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Green Hive and Plastic@Bay, Durness

We had our second Green Hive team road trip on the 16th of October – all the way up to Durness to meet with Dr. Julien Moreau and Dr. Joan D’Arcy who are the founders of Plastic @ Bay – a community interest company aiming to tackle marine plastic pollution in north west Scotland and beyond – they turn marine pollution into unique, bespoke products at their Plastic Lab in Durness.

Green Hive are launching a plastic recycling enterprise and reached out to Plastic @ Bay for advice and education on how to sustainably manage a workshop focused on recycling plastic household waste.

Andy, Kirsty, Caroline and our volunteer Katrina set off on Wednesday and despite Caroline’s navigation skills we had a very scenic journey, with plenty of snacks!

Breathtaking views on the road to Durness.
Photo credit – Katrina Woods

After a brief wander along the Sango Sands beach, we headed along to the Balnakiel Craft Village – a collection of diverse artists and craftspeople who have re-purposed an old military site into a creative hub on the north coast.

If you ever do the North Coast 500 I highly recommend stopping by and checking out the artists as well as Cocoa Mountain (definitely the best hot chocolate in the Highlands)

The beach at Sango Sands
Photo credit – Katrina Woods

We made our way over to meet with Julien and Joan at their Plastic Lab and after a brief introduction we headed down to Balnakiel Beach, where the Plastic @ Bay team collects the majority of plastic used in the lab.

Plastic @ Bay employ a ranger to collect waste from the beaches in proximity to Durness, but they also have volunteer beach clean days, as well as encouraging the local community to collect litter whenever they are on the beach.

When Julien was describing the volume of waste collected from the beach, I couldn’t help but imagine a beach in crisis, like one of the polluted beaches in the Maldives or the Philippines. When we arrived at the beach however, it looked deceptively pristine; white sand, turquoise water and festoons of kelp along a freshwater burn.

Andy (right) gets the lay of the land from Julien (left) over looking Balnakiel beach

Julien has placed a blue bin specifically for plastic at the gates to Balnakiel beach to encourage people to collect and deposit marine waste – he collects waste from the bin regularly and sorts the waste based on it’s suspected origin.

The blue bin of Balnakiel and Julian’s electric quad

I didn’t expect to find much as the litter wasn’t easily visible – I’m used to spotting drinks bottles and cans and plastic bags but in Durness there is very little “litter” on the beach, instead the waste tends to be brought in on currents outwith the beach area, or even the country’s area!

Once we had a masterclass tutorial on marine waste spotting from Julian, we started rooting through the kelp strands and loose sand beds – then the problem became clear – the larger pieces started to become visible, but the scale of micro-plastic pollution was really shocking.

Sprinkled through the wet sand at the tide line were little flecks of luminous orange, green, purple – almost like glitter. This is accumulating micro-plastics and it is very difficult to clear from the beach.

Julien explained that because the shape of the sand changes often in Balnakiel bay, a lot of the pollution ends up buried over after a couple of tides – only to re-emerge later down the line.

After collecting our waste we headed back to the plastic lab where Joan and Julien helped us to seperate the waste out – we were looking to find recyclable and non-recyclable waste first – and then trying to figure out where it originated from.

Joan conducts research into the origin of the pollution collected in Balnakiel bay, she is like a waste detective and through their partnerships in Durness, Joan and Julien have been able to map the plastic distribution through the local coastal currents which gives them an insight into how the pollution ends up in the bay and what drives particular spikes in pollution.

After a very interesting and informative look into the pollution distribution and possible origins, we were ready to start crafting!

Julien has a wide range of tools and machines to help him in his crafting – injection moulds, pressure ovens, industrial shredders – and explained what each tool was for and how he created his method of production.

Each item that Julien produces is unique and hard wearing – one of the North Coasters has a 1000 year guarantee as a coaster, or a tile – and if you want something different, Julien can remould it for you!

Every item produced has multiple uses and a long shelf life, and the range of colours and patterns that Julien creates with his products is fascinating – he can take plastic pollution and turn it into marbled items which look like precious gemstones.

Some of Plastic @ Bay’s North Coasters – you can see more here:

As this is an exploratory enterprise, there is no “industry standard” way to approach production and Julien was able to provide Andy with lots of useful information to help us once we start recycling plastic in our workshop.

As an end to day one, we cleaned and shredded our HDPE plastic in preparation for creating a long lasting unique item the next day.

The next morning we were raring to jump in and start creating – Julien met us at the lab and took us through his production process – we wanted to create a plastic clock with our HDPE to hang proudly in the workshop at Green Hive workshop.

Whilst we were waiting for our clock to form, Julien took us over his method for creating moulded items, such as tiles and letters – and with much trial and error we were able to produce some beautiful letters for a sign, made from the nylon rope collected the day before!

We all had a shot at crafting letters and the end results are just fantastic – these will be mounted on some live edge wood and used as a sign.

After all that crafting, it was time to check on the clock! Julien uses a combination of pressure and oven heat to create his marbled patterns.

We are over the moon with how the clock and the lettering came out, and after a debrief and lots of hugs, we started back down the road – I personally feel much more informed and confident about pollution, especially marine pollution and also our enterprise project, and that is all thanks to Julien and Joan’s invaluable tuition.

From left to right; Andy with a plastic guide, Dr Joan D’Archy – Plastic @ Bay, Kirsty with the clock, Katrina and Caroline with letters and Dr Julien Moreau – Plastic @ Bay

Let us know what you think of our roadtrip – are you as surprised as we were about the waste problem? Have you been up to the craft village before?

If you have any questions about Plastic @ Bay, or the work they do – check out the website here and if you want to know what Green Hive are up to at the plastics workshop, or to admire our finely crafted pieces in Balmakeith – pop along on a Thursday between 11am – 5pm to have a chat with Andy.

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What can you do with your leftover squashes this Halloween?

It’s my favourite time of year again and I’ve done a lot of research into some quick, easy and creative ways to help you get the most out of your pumpkins and jack o’lanterns.

Did you know an estimated 10 million pumpkins are grown in the UK every year! 95% of which will be hollowed out into lanterns for Halloween and the rest used in recipes – we’ve put together a couple of ideas to help you get the most out of our favourite seasonal squash.

Delicious and healthy recipes

Pumpkin is an incredibly versatile source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it’s both healthy and very tasty. It may help boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health. (source;

Perfect Pumpkins!
Image credits Getty Images

When carving up a lantern, you can end up with a lot of left over pulp and seeds, here are a couple of to help you cut down food waste:

Pumpkin seeds and pulp
Image credits Joshua Resnick Shutterstock

Pumpkin seeds – did you know that on average a pumpkin can have anywhere between 100 to 700 seeds! They’re rich in protein, iron, zinc and phosphorus.

These can be eaten raw, roasted in an oven, or used in a multitude of autumnal recipes, such as; granola bars, flapjack, seasonal grain dishes, cheesecakes or even added to a pot of delicious pumpkin soup!

Personally, I like snacking on them throughout the day, or when I’m out on a walk.

The BBC’s Good Food website has a handy guide on roasting seeds, as well as using them as part of a recipe –

A quick and easy snack that’s tasty and full of health benefits
Image credits Getty Images

Pumpkin pulp – the guts that hold the seeds inside the pumpkin can themselves be used for lots of different recipes, blending the guts into a puree allows you to make a wide range of tasty treats including a home made version of the famous Pumpkin Spice Latté!

As a sweet or savoury ingredient, pumpkin puree is a cheap, healthy and fresh alternative to canned pumpkin and the internet is full of exciting ideas on how to mix in fresh pumpkin puree –

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, here’s a link to a recipe to recreate the Wizarding world’s favourite beverage:

Not hungry? You can use your pumpkin guts in lots of other ways – from body scrubs and face masks, to liqueur and dog biscuits!

Post-Halloween Pumpkin Projects

After the 31st of Halloween, you might be tempted to chuck your used lantern out onto the compost heap, before you do that try some of these fun and beneficial projects to really get the most out of your pumpkins!

Pumpkin bird feeder – a simple way to invite wee birdies into your garden.
There are lots of different shapes and sizes of bird feeders that you could craft, so get creative!

The simplest method I found was to carve around the face on your lantern to leave a hole in the front, then pop your pumpkin in a nice quiet part of your garden and fill with seeds, you could even carve holes for some string in the top and then hang your festive feeder up off the ground.

Here’s a guide from Gardener’s World to get you started:

Pumpkin skin is quite tough but also a nice snack for wildlife, so now you have a biodegradable bird feeder!
Image credits: Pumpkin Bird Feeder – Growit Buildit

Pumpkin Planters – your lantern is already hollowed out, so why not pop some compost in and make a cheery and bright autumnal plant pot – the great thing about this is that it will degrade naturally over time so it’s perfect for keeping plants in over the winter for transplanting in spring!

Here’s a pumpkin planter from The Spruce

Pumpkin ornaments and centrepieces – If you have smaller pumpkins left over from your autumn harvest and you don’t want to eat them up, you can instead re- purpose them into floating tea light holders, air fresheners and even succulent centrepieces – there is no limit to what you could create, all just in time for the festive season!

Colourful and cheery pumpkin centrepieces by The Spruce

In conclusion, there are lots and lots of brilliant ways to use up your pumpkins before putting them in the compost.

Once completely worn out you can let them decompose over winter in your mulch pile – or if you don’t have a compost heap nearby, break your pumpkin into small pieces and bury in your garden to increase soil health.

Bring your hollowed out pumpkin along to the Viewfield Community Orchard on the 17th of November and collect some leaf mulch to get a head start on making a planter!

Please let us know what uses or recipes you have for pumpkins – we look forward to trying them all!

Seasons greetings and Happy Halloween!

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Call out for plastic!

Donate your waste plastics to the Green Hive Workshop & support reuse, before recycling.

What Plastics will the Green Hive Workshop accept?

Initially HDPE Plastics.  bigstock-149291216-1-2That is anything with the number ‘2’ inside the recycling logo.
HDPE is one of the most widely used plastics. It comes in a huge variety of colours and it is a perfect material for our workshop projects.  HDPE includes, milk bottles & lids, many plastic pipes, domestic bathroom & kitchen product bottles, and plastic containers from supermarkets.   It would be really helpful if any plastic items you are donating have film lids and labels removed where possible, and have been washed ready for reuse in the workshop.  

Will you accept other plastics in the future?

As much as we would like to find a use for, and accept all unwanted plastic goods in Nairn, we simply don’t have the space or resources at this stage. We have to pay for any items we can’t use to be uplifted for recycling for disposal, so please don’t leave any items laying outside of the workshop.   We have to limit the goods we can accept from the IV12 postcode area, to only the items we can reuse on our creative recycling projects which initially is HDPE.  We hope we can expand what we accept in the future.

How can I donate my waste HDPE Plastic to Green Hive Workshop?

HDPE plastic items can only be accepted during workshop opening hours.  Currently Thursdays 10am-5pm.  As the workshop activities expand with volunteer support, we will expand the drop off days & times. Please keep an eye Green Hive Workshop social media updates for more info.

For more information or to arrange a collection of larger amounts of HDPE from your location please contact

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