360 Photo waste 360Of all the “un-green” things that Americans could feel guilty about — from not recycling to forgetting to bring reusable bags to the store — they 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.” Which of these things make you feel guilty? The top 10 guilty green behaviors:

  1. Wasting food: 39 percent
  2. Leaving the lights on when I leave a room: 27 percent
  3. Wasting water: 27 percent
  4. Not unplugging chargers/electronics when not in use: 22 percent
  5. Not recycling things: 21 percent
  6. Forgetting to bring reusable bags to the store: 20 percent
  7. Letting the water run while brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc. : 20 percent
  8. Not buying CFLs or LEDs: 9 percent
  9. Not sticking to an energy-efficient thermostat setting: 7 percent
  10. Using chemical lawn or plant fertilizers: 6 percent

Food waste in America has grown 50 percent since 1974 and accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater used and roughly 300 million barrels of oil a year. In fact, Americans waste about 27 percent of food available for consumption, costing the average family of four roughly $600 a year.