There are a number of factors that go into determining who the greenest state in America would be. Typically, renewable energy plans, geographical variables, and recycling or waste diversion initiatives will rank as the highest factors in determining who the greenest states of America will be. Contributions to climate change, environmental quality, and eco-friendly behaviors also contribute to a state’s green quality.
Natural beauty works wonders when it comes to assessing the green quality of a state. When a state is lush in natural beauty and wonder, it is going to be considered greener. A state with protected land will also be considered greener. States with ocean coasts and lifestyles are also typically greener. Humans surrounded by natural habitats have a tendency to want to protect their surroundings, and this contributes to the overall green quality of a state.
Waste diversion and recycling is a critical component in combatting greenhouse gases and the continuing depletion of the ozone layer. Programs that include battery recycling and mobile device recycling also help. States that work to reduce landfill states will always rank high on lists of greenest states in America.
Many lists have been created ranking the greenest states. Each one weighs different factors differently and rankings will never be the same between any two or more sources. However, looking at the various lists, there are some regions that consistently have states that rank highly as some of the greenest states in the U.S.
Many Northeastern states contribute to climate change responses, focus on renewable energy, and have eco-friendly initiatives like robust recycling programs. As a result, states like Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York often rank highly on lists of the greenest states.
In a 2023 WalletHub comparison, New Hampshire had the country’s second-best air quality while Vermont’s air quality was tied for fourth. Massachusetts was also one of the states with the country’s best water quality and the third most LEED-certified buildings per capita.
When many people think of eco-friendly and eco-conscious states, California is one of the first to come to mind. California has the fourth-lowest energy consumption per capita and is one of five states tied for having the best water quality. However, California’s air quality, especially in densely populated cities is actually the worst in the country.
Other west coast states also are quite green. Washington and Oregon are two of the best states when looking at the percentage of renewable energy consumption. Washington also ranks highly for the number of LEED-certified buildings per capita and has the fifth-lowest gasoline consumption per capita.
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