Welcome to leastwastefulcities.com

Did you know that Cleveland is the leading reuser of tea bags? Or that New York leads urban America in the use of rain barrels? And that Portland leads the way in reducing water-bottle waste?

We tested America’s top 25 cities on everything from recycling, to using rain barrels, to reusing wrapping paper and rubber bands. See who ranks as America’s Least Wasteful City

Welcome to leastwastefulcities.com

Reduce Your Wasteful Ways

Small Changes Make a Big Difference
Changing from bottled water to a reusable water bottle (our favorite tip, obviously) or walking just a few miles each week instead of driving can make a big difference in your daily footprint on Mother Earth. Here are a few suggestions for less wasteful living.

Filtered water, reusable water bottles and food containers
Fill up a reusable water bottle with filtered water and good things happen! You save money and the environment. The same goes for reusable containers. You’ll save money on disposable wrappings like plastic bags and tin foil. And with nice reusable containers, you may be more motivated to bring your lunch to work, also saving you some cash.

Compost More
According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. That’s a lot of waste to send to landfills when it could become useful and environmentally beneficial to compost instead

Use Rain barrels. Yes, even in the city!
Urban rain barrels can be installed within your building complex and/or your own dwelling very easily. Rain barrels save you money on water that you would use to water your lawn and garden.

Bike Often
Get some exercise, help the environment and get to work or school faster! Even if you replace your car with your bike a few times a week, it can make a huge difference.

Take Public Transportation
When you don’t want to bike, opt for public transportation a few times a week. Your individual effort to take public transportation along with other commuters will collectively have a huge impact on improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions, while also saving natural resources.

Buy Second Hand or Freecycle
Conspicuous consumption is in very poor taste these days! Check out your local thrift stores for the best deals in town, it can’t be beat. You’re supporting local businesses, helping to deter landfill overflow, while also getting some great deals. Other ways to give old items new life is by joining your local Freecylce group and post quality items that you don’t want or need anymore.

Welcome to leastwastefulcities.com

The Nalgene ALWC Study

Study Shows San Francisco is America’s Least Wasteful City

From Rain Barrels and Recycling to Walking and Buying Second-Hand Clothes,
“The Nalgene Least Wasteful City Study” Puts Top 25 Metros Under Scrutiny for Wasteful Behavior

ROCHESTER, NY. (March 31, 2009) — With thrift and conservation on the minds of many Americans, a new study put the spotlight on wasteful behavior in our nation’s cities. “The Nalgene Least Wasteful City Study” ranked 23 waste-focused habits of urban Americans, from recycling, to using public transportation, to shutting off the lights when leaving the room. When the results were tallied, San Francisco earned the title of America’s Least Wasteful City, while Atlanta ranked last in the study.

Other cities at the top of the least wasteful list are New York (2), Portland, OR (3) and Seattle (4). In addition to Atlanta, Dallas (24), Indianapolis (23), Houston (22) and St. Louis (21) were in the bottom five of those surveyed. Individuals can visit www.leastwastefulcities.com for complete rankings or to the take the survey themselves.

Surprisingly, in trying economic times, frugality isn’t the leading factor motivating Americans to change wasteful ways. In fact, over half surveyed (57 percent) cited “that it is our responsibility to ensure the health of our planet for future generations” as the motivation for changing behavior, followed by “it makes financial sense” (22 percent).

The study was commissioned by Nalgene, the leading manufacturer of reusable water bottles, as part of its FilterForGood campaign, an ongoing partnership with Brita to encourage less wasteful behavior.

“This study highlights habits that our society has adopted out of convenience, but on a whole can have a huge impact on the sustainability of the planet,” said Eric Hansen, Sr. Business Manager, Nalgene-Outdoor. “Clearly, some cities are ahead of others when it comes to changing our approach to wastefulness in our actions big and small, but there’s room for all to improve.”

The study questioned 3,750 individuals living in the top 25 largest U.S. cities, gauging behavior on waste, sustainability, shopping, transportation and more. The results were weighted to give more credit to behaviors that had immediate and significant impact on the planet (e.g., driving less, recycling or reducing trash) to small habits that are more indicative of a mindset and non-wasteful approach to life (e.g., reusing containers, limiting shower time or saving wrapping paper and ribbons).

Survey Says: Environmental Efforts Need to be Easy and Convenient…and Save Money
Results show that with the exception of recycling (the 5th top least wasteful behavior), urban Americans are more readily embracing small, everyday habits to cut waste: (1= Never; 10 = Always/Without Fail):

Save leftover food/meals to eat again 8.58
Shut off lights when not in the room 8.48
Turn off water when brushing teeth 7.22
Use energy efficient light bulbs 7.16
Recycle glass/metal/plastics on a regular basis 6.87


The study also suggests that convenience is trumping prudence when it comes to significant wasteful behavior including transportation and personal conservation efforts (average score, 1= Never; 10 = Always/Without Fail):

Avoiding drying clothes in an electric or gas clothes dryer 2.05
Use a rain barrel 2.13
Compost my fruit and vegetable scraps 3.15
Take public transportation 3.37
Drive my car for trips that are less than two miles from home  3.73