In South Dakota, we like to boast about our 'good, clean living'. And now that mantra has become reality.

BestLife has ranked the Mount Rushmore State as the cleanest state in America.

The website created their very own 'Dirty State Index' after looking at landfill levels, as well as data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program and Landfill Gas Energy Project Database, the U.S. Census, carbon dioxide figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, plus each state's air pollution ranking, according to the United Health Foundation.

South Dakota's numbers:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions produced: 14 million metric tons
  • Trash buried per capita: 21.4 tons
  • New waste produced per capita annually: 0.66 tons
  • Percentage of state occupied by landfills: 0.0007 percent
  • Air pollution level: 5.1 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter

All of that translates to the lowest Dirty State Index in the country (7.82), which is more than 11 times less than the dirtiest state (New Jersey).


  1. South Dakota
  2. Idaho
  3. Maine
  4. Montana
  5. Wyoming
  6. Vermont
  7. North Dakota
  8. New Mexico
  9. Oregon
  10. Utah


  1. New Jersey
  2. Texas
  3. Delaware
  4. Rhode Island
  5. California
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Indiana
  8. Ohio
  9. Ilinois
  10. Maryland

New Jersey claimed the dubious title thanks to 1.28 tons of new waste per capita and  29 tons of trash buried there. The Garden State also has the highest percentage of land dedicated to landfills of any place in America.

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