America’s Least Wasteful Cities – Reduce Your Wasteful Ways

You may be wondering why a reusable container company like Nalgene is sponsoring a survey about America’s wasteful ways. Well, here at Nalgene, we believe that making the switch from bottled water to a reusable water bottle is one of the first steps an individual can take in living a less wasteful lifestyle.

In recent years, the amount of energy we are using and waste we are producing is undeniable – however, we firmly believe that by individuals choosing to make small changes at the local level, bigger changes on the global level will be soon to follow. One of the reasons we choose to do this survey every year is to both help raise awareness about this important issue and help provide our consumers with some new ideas to live a greener lifestyle while prompting individuals to take a closer look at their daily habits as they relate to wasteful results. To help reduce your carbon footprint without drastically changing your lifestyle, here are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned from our green friends in the business from over the years:

Ditch the bottled water
Americans used 50 billion water bottles in 2006 and sent 38 billion water bottles to landfills, the equivalent of 912 million gallons of oil. If laid end to end, that’s enough bottles to travel from the Earth to the Moon and back 10 times. If placed in a landfill or littered, those bottles could take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Making the switch from bottled water to a reusable water bottle is a simple and affordable change that we can all make. You can take the first step today by visiting our partner, FilterForGood, and pledging to reduce the amount of bottled water you use at

Think Local & Organic
Whether at your grocery store or dining at your favorite restaurant, try choosing items with the keywords “local” or “organic” in them. Usually these items are grown/produced in an eco-friendly way, and if they are locally grown then that means they didn’t have to travel that far to get to you resulting in a much smaller carbon footprint than the other items in the isle or on the menu. However, as I’m sure you have found by now that you can’t always buy every product locally, so for more exotic products like bananas or coffee, look for the Fair Trade stamp to ensure that you’re supporting local communities that produce these goods.

Travel Smartly & Be Rewarded
Yes, driving a hybrid is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, however when possible, try walking, using a bike or public transportation instead. In fact, many businesses and communities around the country have set up reward systems for those who commute on their bikes instead of with cars. Learn more about discounts and rewards you can receive for commuting on your bike at sites like Bicycle Benefits.

Choose Better Lighting
Did you know that if every American home replaced just one light with an Energy Star qualified CFL (Compact Fluorescent) bulb, then we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year? This number blows us away. Using either a CFL or LED light bulb instead of a regular light bulb is another small change we can all make that can add up to make a big difference. You can learn more about the benefits of using CFL’s here.

Think Twice About Your Trash
Often times we get overwhelmed by all of the clutter around us and fall victim to America’s “throw-away” mentality. Below are a few every day items that often end up in the trash after a single use, but can and should be used over again:

  • Plastic and glass bottles and containers
  • Wrapping paper and ribbon
  • Rubber bands
  • Bubble wrap and packaging materials
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Tea bags
  • Office paper
  • Ziploc bags
  • Shopping bags

In addition to reusing the above items, there are new companies like TerraCycle, that turn your trash into new consumer products. Be sure to check out their website to see the various items that they accept – many of which they’ll pay you for in exchange!