Survey cites Denver as one of the country’s least-wasteful cities

Celebrating something called Earth Day Month, plastic container manufacturer Nalgene reveals Denver is the sixth least-wasteful American city according to a survey conducted among residents of the country’s 25 largest metro areas. San Francisco ranks first and Atlanta pulls up the rear in a tally examining how well residents adhere to 23 waste-oriented behaviors, from taking public transportation to collecting rainwater and visiting the library.

Also better at being less wasteful than Denver? New York, Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles.

According to the survey, Denver residents come in second when it comes to turning off the water when brushing those teeth, rank fifth for buying secondhand items, and are seventh-best in the country when it comes to carrying home groceries in reusable bags.

Not so good: Denverites rank 19th among the 25 largest cities in composting and collecting water in rain barrels; 20th when it comes to participating in the city’s sustainability programs and using reusable containers to store food; and 21st for recycling.

Residents of San Francisco earn least wasteful cred by winning or placing second in a number of categories: first in recycling, turning off water while brushing, using energy-efficient light bulbs, buying food in bulk, reusing wrapping paper and reusing aluminum foil. The Sustainable City by the Bay scores poorly in only one category: when it comes to limiting showers to less than five minutes, San Franciscans rank 12th.

At the other end of the spectrum, Atlanta residents show their contempt for Mother Earth by being the worst at recycling, borrowing library books, using energy-efficient light bulbs and by tossing more than two bags of trash every week. Not surprisingly, Atlantans are very bad at saving leftovers from meals and buying bottled water. They also use an unusual amount of Ziploc bags to store the leftovers they do save.

Take the test here to determine just how wasteful you and your household are.

Here’s the full ranking of least-wasteful cities, including weighted scores based on an elaborate formula. Remember, a high ranking means less wasteful behavior.

  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

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