America's Most- and Least Wasteful Cities Unveiled

America's Most- and Least Wasteful Cities Unveiled

Last year right around this time, we learned that San Francisco was the nation's least-wasteful city as determined by Nalgene. The company has just come out with their 2010 rankings, and the results may surprise you.

Or, perhaps not: San Francisco is once again the least wasteful city in the country, according to the study's methodology.

In fact, very little has changed among the rankings, except for some slight shuffling amongst the best and the worst cities. Joining S.F. in rounding out the top five this year are Seattle, New York City, Portland (Ore.), and Boston.

{related_content}The worst five cities are also a familiar cast of characters. Last year, Atlanta barely hit bottom, nudging Dallas out of the lowest spot by three points. This year's most-wasteful city brings the dubious distinction to Texas, with Houston sinking like a stone.

The other four most-wasteful cities in the U.S. are Cleveland, Atlanta, Tampa, and Indianapolis.

The rankings are the result of a survey of 3,750 individuals around the country, meausring their behavior on waste, sustainability efforts, shopping habits, transportation and reusing items. Here are additional details, from the Least Wasteful Cities website:

The results were weighted to give more credit to behaviors that had immediate and significant impact on the planet (such as using reducing driving, recycling or reducing trash) to small habits that are more indicative of a mindset and non-wasteful approach to life (reusing containers, limiting shower time or saving wrapping paper and ribbons.)

The America's Least Wasteful City index was developed through a scoring system based on respondents' answers to 23 questions that gauged wasteful or non-wasteful behaviors and actions. Each question was answered using a scale of 1 to 10, where 1= never and 10 = always (as it related to each behavior or action).

Among the non-ranking-related findings of the survey:

Most Americans are underwhelmed by their country's green commitment. Seventy-two percent gave the U.S. a grade of a "C" for environmental commitment.

Dallas shows the biggest improvement, while Cleveland and Denver slide the most. Dallas moved up 10 slots from 24th to 14th, while Denver dropped 11 slots from 6th to 17th and Cleveland slid down eight slots, from 16th to 24th.

Americans like their green easy. Eco-friendly behaviors that require more effort consistently rank at the bottom of the barrel, including walking for short trips instead of driving, hanging clothes to dry rather than using a dryer, taking public transportation, composting and using a rain barrel.

The full list of rankings, along with scores, is posted below. For more information about the list, visit

Rank City Weighted Score 1 San Francisco, CA 1382.92 2 Seattle, WA 1359.43 3 New York, NY 1350.74 4 Portland, OR 1293.82 5 Boston, MA 1286.84 6 Philadelphia, PA 1258.81 7 Minneapolis, MN 1232.41 8 Los Angeles, CA 1218.26 9 Washington DC 1206.92 10 Pittsburgh, PA 1205.41 11 Sacramento, CA 1202.78 12 Phoenix, AZ 1199.99 13 Chicago, IL 1193.90 14 Dallas, TX 1186.91 15 Orlando, FL 1180.68 16 Baltimore, MD 1180.47 17 Denver, CO 1180.05 18 Detroit, MI 1173.19 19 St. Louis, MO 1162.03 20 Miami, FL 1149.85 21 Indianapolis, IN 1147.30 22 Tampa, FL 1125.07 23 Atlanta, GA 1115.63 24 Cleveland, OH 1104.99 25 Houston, TX 1094.95

Photo CC-licensed by Flickr user BriYYZ.