What cities are the easiest and most convenient to be green in? That’s what the Least Wasteful Cities Study ultimately discovers, sponsored by bottle-maker Nalgene as they seek to make amends for their BPA setbacks.
The study ranked 23 wasteful or non-wasteful habits of 3750 urban Americans with a score of 10, weighted by multiplying those numbers by the following criteria:
1 – Low impact behavior (e.g. Reusing wrapping paper)
5 – Moderate impact (e.g. Turning water off when brushing teeth)
10 – High impact (e.g. Recycling)
25 – Extremely high impact (e.g. Taking public transportation)
The bottom line is people’s answers were based on how easy and convenient the green alternatives were. Some of the findings most relevant to city development:
45% plan to shop at local markets.
85% said that they plan on being more environmentally conscious in the next year.
69% of residents say they do not think their city is on the right track to becoming more environmentally responsible.
24% are participating in city sustainability/environmental programs.
74% of urban Americans do not think their cities keep them well informed of green and sustainability programs.
69% plan on changing their behavior to take public transportation more often in 2009.
Now, the city rankings, with average weighted score (highest possible being 1930):
1. San Francisco, CA 1025.45 (pictured)
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
I thought it interesting that New York City and Los Angeles were ranked so similarly. Here’s what the study says:
What dragged New York City down: (see NYC’s high/low rankings here)
Turning off the lights when not in the room – 24th
Saving leftovers to eat again – 22nd
Buying second-hand clothing, electronics, and furniture – 23rd
Turning off the water when brushing teeth – 17th
What brought Los Angeles up: (See LA’s high/low rankings here)
Using a rain barrel – 2nd
Limiting showers to 5 minutes or less – 2nd
Participating in their city’s sustainability/environmental programs – 3rd
Taking public transportation – 3rd