Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Green Live & Work

How do the 25 largest American cities rank for wastefulness?

Wastefulness rankings

Recycle Bottles and Cans AD (HDR)According to a study commissioned by Nalgene, of the 3,750 people surveyed from the 25 largest American cities, San Francisco predictably ranks as the least wasteful.

Participants were asked about a range of 23 behaviors from public transportation to shopping habits to saving leftovers and sustainability efforts. More weight was given to the actions with bigger impacts over common behaviors such as recycling wrapping paper.

Findings indicate the convenience is still the largest driving factor as to whether or not people are wasteful which is why city policies and programs play a critical role in behavior. With a growing consumer sentiment toward environmentalism, cities like Dallas are taking note as they moved from 24th place in 2009 to 14th place in 2010 while Phoenix improved from 20th to 12th. It’s not all good news, however – Denver dropped from 6th to 17th and Cleveland moved from 16th to Dallas’ former position as 24th.

Interest in green real estate is rapidly increasing and as more studies reveal city rankings for their wastefulness, residents could begin making choices of living environments just as they are beginning to do with their groceries- based on sustainability and eco-friendliness. Even Wal-Mart stores are going green and carrying legitimate organic foods, residential builders will begin feeling the pressure soon too.

The 25 largest cities ranked for wastefulness:

Detroit ranks first for turning off the lights while Washington D.C. ranks last. Nearly 50% of Seattle residents refuse to buy bottled water for environmental reasons while residents in Miami rank the worst for buying bottled water.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Where does your city rank? Why would a city like Dallas jump so high and cities like Denver drop so low in just one year? What is your attitude towards wastefulness and what are you doing to help your local environment?

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. New York, NY
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Philadelphia, PA
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. Los Angeles, CA
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Pittsburgh, PA
  11. Sacramento, CA
  12. Phoenix, AZ
  13. Chicago, IL
  14. Dallas, TX
  15. Orlando, FL
  16. Baltimore, MD
  17. Denver, CO
  18. Detroit, MI
  19. St. Louis, MO
  20. Miami, FL
  21. Indianapolis, IN
  22. Tampa, FL
  23. Atlanta, GA
  24. Cleveland, OH
  25. Houston, TX

CC Licensed image courtesy of kingdesmond via

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Benn Rosales

    April 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Funny Austin isn’t on this list, we spot missed opportunities all the time to be less wasteful around the city, so if we’re all good, then some of these cities must be awful at it.

  2. Jonathan Benya

    April 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    With all the wasteful spending in Washington, How in heck’s sake are we not #1?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Green Live & Work

You all may recall I wrote earlier this year that the EPA (environmental protection agency) had issued rules with heavy penalties that required new...

Housing News

Greening the community For those of you not versed in commercial real estate, most states require a minimum amount of “green space” to be...

Housing News

Tick Tock Tick Tock With all the talk of market recovery, tax credits expiring, new Truth in Lending guidelines, this one may have snuck...

Housing News

Oh the Humanity!! Apparently,  there is such thing as the  Government Accountability Office (GAO) and according to this NY Times Article the GAO recently...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.