Eco-Study Shows San Francisco is “America’s Least Wasteful City” 2nd Year in a Row; Houston Ranks Last

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Nalgene unveils results from its second annual, eco-study, America's Least Wasteful Cities with San Francisco taking the title as the least wasteful city in the nation for the second year in a row. Find out what cities topped the list and what cities fell short in Nalgene's 2010 America's Least Wasteful Cities study. With Earth Day next week, the study aims to encourage cities and their residents that making small changes, like using a reusable water bottle in place of bottled water, really can add up to make a big difference.

Nalgene's 2010 America's Least Wasteful Cities rankings

the study suggests that urban Americans have shown slight improvements in curbing wasteful behavior

From recycling to rain barrels to walking and buying second-hand clothes, the 2nd Annual “Nalgene Least Wasteful Cities Study” (NLWC) again puts the nation’s top 25 metro areas under scrutiny for wasteful behavior. For the second-straight year, San Francisco ranked the top city for responsible consumption and eco-friendly behavior. Houston ranked last. Overall, the study suggests that urban Americans have shown slight improvements in curbing wasteful behavior.

Other cities at the top of the list are Seattle (2) New York (3) Portland, OR (4) and Boston (5). Joining Houston (25) at the bottom this year were Cleveland (24) Atlanta (23) Tampa (22) Indianapolis (21) and Miami (20).

Created by the leading BPA-free reusable bottle company, Nalgene, the eco-study is designed to encourage responsible consumption in our nation’s cities. Rankings are compiled through an index that gauges 23 behaviors and habits that range from recycling to using public transportation to shutting off the lights when leaving a room.

“This survey is a fun way to get individuals to think about environmental and financial impacts of everyday actions,” said Eric Hansen, product market director, Nalgene-Outdoor. “The results remind us all that simple steps can make a big difference over time.”

Nalgene invites individuals to take the test themselves at Visitors on the site will have the opportunity to purchase a limited edition NLWC bottle with a portion of the proceeds going to the Surfrider Foundation. For each bottle sold, Nalgene will donate $2 dollars to the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. In 2010, Brita and Nalgene, through their FilterForGood partnership, will donate $100,000 to Surfrider and are encouraging Facebook users to match that donation by then end of 2010.


  •     Americans Give the Country a “C” for Environmental Commitment: When asked to grade the country and their city’s commitment to the environment, most urban Americans (72%) are underwhelmed with the countries commitment as a whole, give the USA a grade of “C”. Similarly, three of five (60%) give their own city a C-grade
  •     Little Things Add Up: 2010 results show that, with the exception of recycling (the 4th top least wasteful behavior), urban Americans more readily embrace small, everyday habits to cut waste including saving leftovers, shutting off lights and using efficient light bulbs
  •     Dallas Shows Biggest Improvement; Cleveland & Denver Slip Big Time: Best overall city improvements from 2009 include Dallas moving up ten slots from 24th to 14th and Phoenix moving up eight slots from 20th to 12th. NLWC downgrades include Denver, moving down eleven slots from 6th to 17th, and Cleveland, moving down eight slots, from 16th to 24th
  •     Convenience Still King: Once again, findings suggest that convenience plays a big role in behavior - those eco-friendly behaviors that require more effort consistently rank at the bottom of the barrel. The least-practiced efforts include walking for short trips, hanging clothes to dry, taking public transportation, composting and using a rain barrel


  •     Seattle “Reducing and Reusing:” 64 percent of Seattle residents do not purchase bottled water and are the best at using a reusable bottle. The reason? 71 percent refill to be “more environmentally conscious” while 57 percent are motivated to “save money”
  •     Less Still Best in the West: San Francisco, Portland and Seattle are among the top four in least wasteful behaviors
  •     Sacramento’s Got Bright Ideas: For the second straight year, Sacramento comes in first for using energy efficient light bulbs, while Atlanta remained in the dark, landing 25th for energy efficient light bulbs
  •     Washington D.C. Leaves the Lights On: When it comes to saving energy and shutting off the lights, the nation’s capital is dead last for the second year in a row. In contrast, Detroit moved up 19 spaces, coming in at number one in the category
  •     San Francisco Ousts NYC as Top Rain Barrel City: San Francisco puts water conservation at the top of their list coming in as number one in the U.S. for using a rain barrel. Still impressive, New York City ranks second and remains the only east coast city to rank in the top five for rain barrels
  •     Second City Not Into Second-Style: Chicago’s eye for used goods dropped eleven spots from 14th in 2009 to 25th in 2010 followed by Philadelphia (24) and Houston (23)
  •     Los Angeles Residents On the Bottle: Los Angeles moves to last place for being the worst at avoiding the purchase of bottled water, while Miami moves from 25th to 18th
  •     Baltimore Loves Cold Pizza: Baltimore loves leftovers, coming in as the best at saving leftovers to eat again. But Miami’s not so great at saving leftovers, coming in at 25th

The eco-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).

For information on how to rate your own least wasteful behavior and to see how your city ranks, visit You can also start making a difference by pledging to reduce bottled water waste and learn about other easy ways to go green at

About Nalgene-Outdoor
Founded in 1949 as a manufacturer of the first plastic pipette holder, Nalgene soon expanded its product line to include state-of-the-art polyethylene lab ware. Since then, Nalgene has been the leader in leak-proof, reusable hydration containers, and today offers the largest and most diverse selection of BPA-free reusable containers, including stainless steel. Through its eco-minded campaigns including FilterForGood, Refill not Landfill, and America’s Least Wasteful Cities and its commitment to producing leak-proof and durable products; Nalgene aims to inspire a less wasteful way of life. Nalgene’s products adhere to strict FDA and ISO manufacturing processes that go above and beyond other reusable container companies’ manufacturing standards. For more information, contact Nalgene Consumer Products or visit our website at


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