Of all the "un-green" things that Americans could feel guilty about -- from not recycling to forgetting to bring reusable bags to the store -- we feel the most guilt about wasting food, according to a national survey called Eco Pulse from the Shelton Group. "This is an issue that gets right to the core of who we are as Americans. We were all taught to waste not, want not, and trained that wasting food equals being a bad person," said Suzanne Shelton, founder and CEO of Shelton Group. "Yet the average household throws out 470 pounds of food every year, making it the largest component in our nation's landfills. So I'm afraid we have plenty to feel guilty about."

Our top 10 guilty green behaviors are:
  • Wasting food: 39% 
  • Leaving the lights on after leaving a room: 27% 
  • Wasting water: 27% 
  • Not unplugging chargers/electronics when not in use: 22% 
  • Not recycling things: 21% 
  • Forgetting to bring reusable bags to the store: 20% 
  • Letting the water run while brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc.: 20% 
  • Not buying CFLs or LEDs: 9% 
  • Not sticking to an energy-efficient thermostat setting: 7% 
  • Using chemical lawn or plant fertilizers: 6% 
Food waste in America has grown 50% since 1974 and accounts for more than one quarter of the total fresh water used and roughly 300 million barrels of oil a year. In fact, Americans waste about 27% of food available for consumption, costing the average family of four roughly $600 a year.


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