Have fun and help the planet? It’s a no-brainer.

Not many of us have the time to be bored nowadays, but we’re certainly all familiar with that what-should-I-do-now feeling when we do find some spare time to ourselves. What’s your go-to? Do you hit the gym? See a movie? Go to the pub? Maybe you’d rather settle down in the front of the TV – and no one would blame you. But if you find yourself wanting to do a bit more with your free time, consider taking up one of these hobbies. They’re all eco-friendly and they’re all a lot of fun.

  1. Beekeeping

Bee populations are on the decline, so it’s more important than ever before to care for our little fuzzy friends, and backyard bee colonies can play a supporting role in increasing the number of wild bees out there, which are vital for pollination. Did you know that a single bee colony can pollinate around 300 million flowers every single day?

And in addition to helping preserve the environment, beekeeping will also give you access to a fresh supply of delicious honey and beeswax, which has innumerable uses. Beekeeping isn’t as tricky as you might imagine, either. The British Beekeeping Association has loads of resources to help you get started.

  1. Hiking

The UK is absolutely packed with beautiful walking and hiking spots, and all you need to enjoy the wonderful splendour of nature is a bit of energy and a pair of decent walking shoes. Soak up the scenery and give yourself a bit of a workout with absolutely zero impact on the planet – providing you respect your environment, of course.

You could even make your walk extra eco-friendly by making a point of collecting any litter you encounter on your way – picking up discarded rubbish has a bigger environmental impact than you might realise. Check out Walking Britain for beautiful trails near you.

  1. Cooking

Depending on your viewpoint, cooking is either an enjoyable pastime or a necessary evil – or lies somewhere vaguely in between. But by turning it into a hobby you’ll have unlimited opportunities for creativity and imagination, as well as the chance to make a culinary mark in an eco-friendly way.

Cooking at home lets you make better environmental choices by purchasing your own ingredients and directly managing your waste. Plus it’s pretty fulfilling to serve up a tasty meal to your loved ones made from scratch! Try turning everyday food prep into fun challenges by setting yourself themes, such as vegan meals, local-ingredients only or zero-waste dinners. LoveFoodHateWaste is a great place to start for some gourmet inspiration.

  1. Upcycling

Upcycling is great for people who love a bit of arts and crafts. Breathing new life into old objects is the name of the game here, from turning an old cupboard into a bright new bathroom cabinet, to giving a tired dress a makeover with some simple sewing tricks. By creating something fresh and new, you’re eliminating the need to produce that ‘new’ item from scratch, thus saving energy and resources.

There are upcycling projects out there for every skill level – or create your own. Pinterest is a goldmine for upcycling inspiration, while UpcycleThat.com is home to lots of pre-planned projects and guides.

  1. Cycling

You’d be forgiven for thinking that cycling is simply a way to get from A to B, rather than a hobby – and while you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, cycling is so much more than a mode of transportation. It’s fun and it’s freedom. You don’t need a fixed destination or scheduled arrival time to enjoy Britain’s many scenic cycle paths.

Of course, the more you cycle in your free time, the more you’re likely to incorporate cycling into everyday activities, such as commuting or nipping to the shops – and that’s as much of a win for the planet as it is your health. Sustrans will help you plan your perfect route.

So next time you’re slumped on the sofa, ask yourself if there’s something else you’d rather be doing, and consider pursing a hobby that’s good for the environment. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time if you’re helping to save the planet in the process.

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