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Nov 19

Sustainable Holiday Tips

Posted on November 19, 2020 at 9:21 AM by Natalie Nebilak

4 Tips to Reduce Our Impact During the Holidays

Happy Holidays from the City of Ventura's Division of Environmental Sustainability! This holiday season let's focus on being kind to our planet and incorporating more sustainable actions into our holidays traditions. Here are a few tips to plan for a green holiday season.



Many holidays, celebrations, and traditions feature food as a centerpiece. Food is also a common thread that we share with our neighbors and community; a way to bring people together. For even though different traditions feature different flavors (think curries for Indian dishes, or peppers and chilies for Mexican dishes), these flavors can be enjoyed by all. However, not all community members have the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of food.


Approximately 40% of all food in America goes to waste. This is a startling number on it's own. But consider now that over 37 million Americans are food insecure at some point during the year, meaning they are unsure of where their next meal will come from. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please visit this link for a list of local food pantries and food share organizations. When we throw away food, we are also throwing away the land, water, and energy used to produce that food. AND the money we spent on it. 

Food waste is a social, environmental, and economic issue. To avoid food waste this season (and all year long) prepare before you shop. Make a list of items you need and how many you will be cooking for. This will help prevent over-buying and over-making. Compost inedible parts of produce. This will keep methane-producing organics out of landfills and return vital nutrients back to the soil. Still have leftovers? Save them and get creative with your next meal. Here are some tips:

  • If there are more leftovers than you can eat in the next few days, freeze them to enjoy at a later date.
  • Store in reusable containers and share them.
  • Recycle leftovers into another meal like a scramble, casserole, or quiche.
We all have opportunities everyday to reduce food waste. How will you make an impact this holiday season?



Here's a bright idea: switch to LED lights! LED light strands use only 10% of the energy that regular bulbs use. Not only will you conserve energy by switching to LEDs, but you can save some serious money if you're planning on going all-out with the holiday decorations. You can also conserve energy by turning on Christmas tree lights only when you are in the room to enjoy them or by using a timer. 

Another great way to conserve energy during the holidays is to adjust the thermostat. Having a few family members over for some merriment? More bodies = warmer home. When you have guests over you can actually turn down the thermostat because warm bodies will heat up the room on their own. Keep in mind that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 3% on your electric bill. Here are some quick tips for energy conservation this season:

  • Switch to LED bulbs
  • Keep electronics plugged into a power strip and turn off power strip when electronics are not in use.
  • Keep thermostat set to 68 degrees



Did you know that it takes upwards of 1000 years for plastic to decompose? This basically means that plastic is forever, and not in a good way. Plastic isn’t just toxic to our environment when it’s discarded, the manufacturing of plastics is also fraught with chemicals and the use of fossil fuels. This holiday season (and beyond) avoid plastics, single-use items, and other non-recyclable materials.

  • Opt for natural decorations from tree trimmings, pine cones, and other eco-friendly materials like 100% organic cotton, linen, and hemp.
  • Get creative with the whole family and make cut-out paper decorations and garland.
  • Give gifts made of natural materials like metals, woods, glass, and other recyclable materials.
  • Choose wrapping paper that is made of post-consumer recycled content and string instead of plastic ribbon.



Shop at antique stores, thrift shops, and other secondhand retail outlets, for great deals on thoughtful, unique holiday gifts that also reduce your footprint in the process! Ventura is also home to a bounty of small, local businesses, several of which belong to the network of Certified Green Businesses.

  • Download the Shop Green app (available on the App Store or Google Play) to find local green businesses near you.

Happy Holidays Ventura!