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Recycling Hive is an idea born from a local Facebook community – filled with recycling heroes!

Any of us that care about the environment and sustainability know that recycling is NOT the first answer. Rather: rethink, repair, refuse, repurpose, reduce, re-use, and then recycle. Even so, it is still an important step in trying to undo the damage we have already done and avoid further damage to our planet. But recycling isn't always that easy.

Most local authorities still have a long way to go with regards to what they accept, and there are a lot of rules which must be adhered to if you want to be sure the contents of your recycling bin don't end up going to landfill because of contamination. Should lids be left on plastic bottles? Depends where you live!

Local recycling communities can be a godsend, thanks to caring individuals who collect various recyclables and send them in the right direction - charities, Terracycle, additional council-run facilities and even repurposing (to name a few).

But working out what goes where can be the tricky part! Our local group ended up with a very unwieldy spreadsheet (frequently updated by some amazing volunteers). The problem was, scanning through the spreadsheet became a time-consuming job, and keeping it up-to-date as people started new collections or stopped old collections was a minefield.

This is where Recycling Hive comes in!

I (Jess Bennett) wanted to find a way to pay back my lovely recycling community for all their hard work – and as a new software development student, the idea for this site came about.

In its initial stages it will just serve our local community – but the hope for the future is that the site can be adopted by other local Hives across the UK!

Recycling Hive is a place to check out what can be recycled locally to you - above and beyond what your council refuse service collects.

It is a service that relies entirely on being updated by the local community.

You don't need to know all of this to use the site - but in case you're interested...

Your Hive is made up of several different community members:

Queen Bees
Your Hive will have one or more Queen Bees. In some cases too many queen bees for your typical hive, perhaps – but this is about spreading the workload! Our bees also have jobs, families and hobbies to attend to.

The role of the Queen Bee is to accept new membership requests, and approve new recycling locations. They will have decided the criteria that must be met before accepting a new member. For example, local addresses are displayed on the site, so they might have some questions to check that you really are local before being accepted!

Worker Bees
There will (hopefully) be many, many workers in your Hive. These are the local heroes who happily accept your recycling and send it off to the right place. They work incredibly hard so be good to them!

Busy Bees
That’s most of us here. Busy bees are vital for this community effort. They collect all their recyclables, keep them clean and organised (following the notes given by the Worker Bees to the letter), before delivering them to the Worker Bees for dispatch!

It may well be that there isn’t one set up in your area. If you would like to set up your own recycling Hive, please contact me to discuss how to go about it.

The hope is that the site has been designed to be user-friendly and self-explanatory. But, the best laid plans...

If you're really not liking how it works, then let me have your suggestions and I'll see what I can do.

In the meantime, here are a few pointers:

How do I find an item to recycle?
Head to the Hive and get browsing! You can look by category (e.g. Food/drink packaging) or item (e.g. Crisp packets) and then see who is collecting that item in your area. Can't find what you're looking for? Sounds like no-one in your Hive is collecting it. Why don't you start a collection?

What else can I drop off to a Worker Bee?
If you're already on your way to drop off some recycling, why not make the journey even more worthwhile and see what else you could be taking there?
Once you're in the Hive, just go to Hive Members and click on a name to see all the items they currently accept.

What are the different collection types?
It can take some getting used to, but once it's clear, it makes adding and finding collections easier for all of us. So, without further ado, this is how the collections are split:

  • Private
    These are collections which are undertaken by an individual - a Worker Bee in your Hive. They are responsible for collecting and dispatching the recyclable item. The collection address is usually their home or work. They do all of this voluntarily and it's hard work so please make sure you follow the condition notes they give to the letter. In particular, please make sure the items you drop off to them are clean and don't have bits of food stuck to them!
  • Public
    These collections belong to a business/company or similar and are available to be used by basically everyone (depending on location). They are further split down into:
    • Local
      These collections are suitable for members of your Hive only. These collections are split into:
      • Council-run
        This type of collection is strictly limited to your local kerbside recycling service and local Household Recycling Centres (HRCs).
      • Other
        This is everything else locally - it might be a local business for example.
    • National
      These collections are potentially suitable for members of any Hive across the UK. They are split into:
      • Postal
        Self-explanatory - this is for items that should be sent to the collector by post.
      • Drop-off
        These items can be dropped off at a local branch, nationwide. An example of this is Specsavers, who take old spectacles to be recycled, at any of their stores nationally.

This all might seem a bit mind-blowing laid out like this. But I promise you, it will make perfect sense as you start to use the site.

How do I add a collection?
When you first join the site, you are automatically a 'Busy Bee'. To become a 'Worker Bee' (a member with private recycling collections), you just need to add your first collection from the Add Collection page. Once that's been approved by a Queen Bee, you're free to add as many collections as you want, without waiting for further approval.

Anyone can add a public collection - you don't need to be a Worker Bee to do so. As these collections are displayed to all Hives (not just your own), and/or might be duplicated by other members, they are first checked and approved by a Queen Bee, before being committed to the database. To add one, just go to the Add Collection page and follow the instructions there.

What if I don't want to put my address on here?
The registration process has been designed to encourage only local people to join and your address will only be visible to those that have registered to be part of your local community. However, it is a website and it's understandable if you don't feel comfortable sharing your address here.
If this is the case, then you can put what you want in the address fields (although they do all need to be filled in). For example, you could put:
Street: Please call/text on 07123 456 789 for collection address.
Town: Newbury
Postcode: XXX XXX

Once you've registered, the answers you gave in your form (not including your password) are sent to your Queen Bee(s) to be reviewed. They'll do a quick check to make sure you're local to them and everything else is in order before approving your request to join.

It should only take a couple of days, but you might have to be patient. The Recycling Hive does not currently have a messaging system for you to follow this up. However, it is designed to be used alongside another community portal (such as a Facebook group), so hopefully you'll be able to get in touch with them that way if it's taking too long.

Could it be that you're entering your login details incorrectly? Have another go, or get in touch if you think this might be the case.

The other possibility (more likely if you've never been able to use the 'Search Hive' function) is that your request to join has been denied. I don't know why they would deny you... Are you here for the right reasons? Are your intentions good? Are you sure?! If you're seriously confused, just use the link above to get in touch and I'll do my best to help.

Well, that is a shame – no one likes criticism!! But in all seriousness, if you do have any feedback on this site (colour schemes or otherwise!) then please, please do let me know here. All ideas will be seriously considered – the site is only as good as the people who use it!