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City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution
  June 9, 2014

WHEREAS: One of the expressed goals of the Cambridge City Council is to "promote a healthy community and environment to advance Cambridge as a leader in public health and environmental sustainability"; and

For decades, the City of Cambridge has led the charge in empowering its residents, workers and visitors to engage in behaviors that are sustainable, healthy and environmentally-conscious; and 

WHEREAS: Last May, the City of Cambridge joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as a signatory on the historic Cambridge Community Compact for a Sustainable Future, the first compact of its kind that will engage partners in a collaborative community effort to address global environmental changes, including climate change; and 
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge strives to lead by example by engaging in a variety of initiatives aimed at improving the sustainability of municipal operations, including making improvements to the energy performance of municipal buildings, emphasizing a fuel efficient vehicle fleet, expanding the use of renewable energy, calling for state divestment from fossil fuels, and developing new city initiatives to assist residents in leading more sustainable and healthful lives; and 
WHEREAS: Throughout the last year, citizens across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have called on the legislature to pass an Updated Bottle Bill to decrease litter and increase recycling by expanding our container deposit system to include drinks such as non-carbonated beverages, water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks; and
WHEREAS: More than 400 million of these "new age" drinks are now consumed in Massachusetts each year and, with less than a 20% recycle rate on these beverages, millions of our tax dollars are spent managing them as litter or waste; and  

The cost to manage these discarded containers is currently the responsibility of municipalities through collection of public waste receptacles and household trash and recycling programs; and  

WHEREAS: Another way that the City of Cambridge can serve as a model for other communities to promote sustainability and act in accordance with the spirit of the Updated Bottle Bill would be to reduce the use of disposable single serving bottled drinking water, which causes significant and unnecessary harm to our environment; and  
WHEREAS: According to a study by the Pacific Institute, making bottles to meet America's demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year or to power 190,000 homes; and 
WHEREAS: Furthermore, beverage containers account for 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from landfilling a ton of solid waste and replacing the wasted products with new products made from virgin materials. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources, PET bottles never break down, unlike other materials; and 
WHEREAS: Another municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has seen great successes by restricting the sale of bottled water and has created additional infrastructure for public drinking fountains; and 

By limiting the sale of non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter or less, the City of Cambridge can lead by example to promote sustainable living practices; now therefore be it 

ORDERED; That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a draft ordinance that will limit the sale of single-serving PET bottles of 1 liter or less in the City of Cambridge; and be it further 


That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to develop a taskforce to provide clear guidelines for this ordinance including a timeline, exemptions for emergencies, a clear enforcement process, an education program for small businesses, and the expansion of alternative water sources, including public drinking fountains; and be it further 


That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.   

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