The Top 25 Least Wasteful U.S. Cities

San Francisco Do you spend your days traipsing around San Francisco? Then congratulations, you live in America's least wasteful city according to a study conducted by Nalgene. The water bottle company questioned 3,750 people in America's 25 largest cities about their transportation use, waste, sustainability efforts, shopping habits, and reuse of items. Nalgene weighted the results to give preference to behaviors with an immediate and significant impact like driving less, recycling more, and reducing trash. The survey's index is based on a scoring system with a potential individual high score of 1930 and a low individual score of 193.

San Franciscans topped Nalgene's list thanks to widespread habits of recycling, turning off the water while brushing teeth, and only using cars for short trips. 86% of San Franciscans also reported that they live an "extremely" or "somewhat" eco-friendly lifestyle, though the definition of an eco-friendly lifestyle is not made clear in the study.

Atlanta came in at the other end of the spectrum, with residents ranking the worst at recycling, throwing out less than two bags of trash a week, using reusable containers, participating in sustainability programs, using energy-efficient lightbulbs, and borrowing books from the library.

Nalgene, of course, had its own motivation for conducting the study. The company recently came under fire for using Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen-like chemical, in its water bottles. Nalgene did eventually pull BPA-filled water bottles from the shelves, but the wastefulness study could be the company's attempt to get back in the good graces of eco-minded consumers.

The full list of America's least wasteful cities is below.

Rank City Weighted Score
1 San Francisco, CA 1025.45
2 New York City, NY 1004.01
3 Portland, OR 1001.66
4 Seattle, WA 985.03
5 Los Angeles, CA 960.46
6 Denver, CO 943.77
7 Minneapolis, MN 943.17
8 Washington, D.C. 941.81
9 Boston, MA 941.29
10 Philadelphia, PA 932.59
11 Chicago, IL 931.03
12 Baltimore, MD 927.26
13 Detroit, MI 911.59
14 Pittsburgh, PA 909.42
15 Orlando, FL 901.71
16 Cleveland, OH 900.77
17 Sacramento, CA 899.78
18 Miami, FL 898.49
19 Tampa, FL 896.01
20 Phoenix, AZ 887.48
21 St. Louis, MO 883.38
22 Houston, TX 879.16
23 Indianapolis, IN 872.75
24 Dallas, TX 860.60
25 Atlanta, GA 857.51


Related: The Real Story Behind Bisphenol A

[Via ALWC]

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  • m arm

    San Francisco, least wasteful? How was computed? did they factor in the price of PC/Affirmative Action/being a 'refuge' city for illegal immigrants including Felons?

  • Woody Raine

    Too bad the study left out several of the top 25 most populated cities including San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Jacksonville, Columbus OH, Austin, Fort Worth, Memphis, Charlotte.

  • Will Yokubaitis

    Only 3,750 people in all cities??.... or is this the population in all the cities polled? That is a population size of one city to poll..... or some politics to place a community against another one... I am pondering my health after discovering Nalgene bottles in 1999...I have used them for almost ten years....this is a company that needs to be doing research on the effects of their product on the masses that used them....not small case studies in the top 25 cities of the perception of least wasteful cities...I will call this the most wasteful study to avoid the case studies of their harm to their users in the past 10 years.

  • Will Yokubaitis

    hmmm......I am all about recycling.... until an eco conscious company does not provide acceptable case studies and testing periods for a can I believe anything from a company that is willing to sell Bisphenol A (BPA) as a reusable product like Nalgene.....A little oversight may need to be applied to a company that may be riding the corporate green wash theory