City Seeks To Nix Nip Litter

Markeshia Ricks PhotosThe city is looking to curb the number of nip bottles littering sidewalks, public parks, and storm drains by pushing for a statewide bottle deposit for the popular alcohol miniatures. It should not expect to find much support among city liquor store owners.

The Harp administration has asked the legislature to pass a bill that would put a 15-cent bottle deposit on nip alcohol bottles similar to the five-cent bottle deposit that has existed in the state for decades for bottles of soda, water, or beer.

New Haven State Reps. Roland Lemar and Juan Candelaria have filed a bill that would impose a five-cent bottle deposit, more in line with the existing bottle deposit. The bill has been assigned to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment. Mike Harris, legislative liaison for the city, said that the idea for a bottle deposit on nips is borrowed from Maine, which recently passed such legislation.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also has proposed a sweeping bill that would ensure at least a five-cent bottle deposit on every beverage container containing a carbonated or non-carbonated drink, including beverages like fruit juice that are not currently covered under the current bottle deposit law. Malloy’s bill also would raise the bottle deposit on beverage containers that hold alcohol to 25 cents.

Mayor Toni Harp said in an interview that the law will help deal with a litter problem in commercial areas.

Mike Patel, who has owned the Liquor World on Whalley Avenue for 20 years, was busy this past Wednesday as customers stopped by to stock up ahead of the snowstorm. He said he’d heard of the governor’s proposal. He hadn’t heard that the city was looking to impose a 15-cent bottle deposit specifically on nips.

Patel said called all the proposals bad for business.

“Recycling is fine, it’s good,” he said. “But my customers don’t want to pay more. They’re fighting for every nickel and dime they get.”

Patel said when the cost of an item goes up by even a few cents, customers move on to something cheaper. Liquor World sells an assortment of nips that range in price from 99 cents to $2.98.

He also noted that he has nowhere to store the returned bottles, which he said would attract bugs and vermin to the store.

Beverage Boss owner Ron Patel, who is not related to Mike Patel, offered similar thoughts. His Whalley Avenue store provides a small room at the back with machines for bottle returns. He said most stores don’t have the kind of space he does.

The system for having the bottles taken away isn’t great, he said. The company that comes to pick up the bottles, Envipco, is supposed to come once a week but doesn’t always.

“We pay an extra handling fee for that service,” Ron Patel said. “It’s a dirty business, and it attracts rodents. We have to have pest control come in twice a week to help maintain it.”

Ron’s family has owned the business for 39 years, 20 of which it has been at its current location at 226 Whalley Ave., and they’ve seen a lot of legislation come and go over the years.

“They do this every year, putting up 10 bills with the hopes of getting two passed,” he said.

The 2018 Agenda

Bill #StatusSummarySponsors
HB 5001In CommitteeTo impose a fee on transactions involving virtual currency.Pat Dillon
HB 5031In Committee
Committee Approved
To allow students to have equal access to institutional financial aid.Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
HB 5082In CommitteeTo provide state funds to assist hurricane victims from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who are living in Connecticut.Juan Candelaria
HB 5126In CommitteeTo increase funding to boards of education and family resource centers that provide assistance to students and families from Puerto Rico.Juan Candelaria
HB 5112In CommitteeTo permit the retail sale of marijuana and tax such sale to raise revenue for the General Fund and to fund substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs.Juan R. Candelaria, Angel Arce, Josh Elliott, Steven J. Stafstrom, Jeff Currey, Susan M. Johnson, Chris Soto, Patricia A. Dillon, Roland J. Lemar, James M. Albis, Christopher Rosario, Kim Rose, Robyn A. Porter, Edwin Vargas, Matthew Lesser, Gregory Haddad, Joshua Malik Hall, Ezequiel Santiago, Diana S. Urban, Toni E. Walker, Robert Sanchez, Alphonse Paolillo
SB 1In CommitteeTo expand the sick leave program to provide earned family and medical leave to certain individuals employed in this state.Martin M. Looney, Bob Duff, Timothy D. Larson, Steve Cassano, Beth Bye, Terry B. Gerratana, Gary A. Winfield, Ted Kennedy, Catherine A. Osten, Marilyn V. Moore, Edwin A. Gomes, Mae Flexer
SB 62In CommitteeTo provide tuition-free community college for Connecticut residents.Martin M. Looney
HB 5182In CommitteeTo require building officials in certain municipalities to establish and assess a fee for the commencement of certain work without a necessary permit.Planning and Development Committee
HB 5210In Committee
Committee Approved
To (1) mandate insurance coverage of essential health benefits, (2) expand mandated health benefits for women, children and adolescents, and (3) expand mandated contraception benefits.Insurance and Real Estate Committee
HB 5084In CommitteeTo encourage the recycling of nip bottles that otherwise frequently litter urban areas.Roland J. Lemar and Juan R. Candelaria
HB 5350In CommitteeTo create a pilot program for shared solar facilities at municipal airports. The bill also would delete the provision that dictates the length of Tweed Airport’s runway.Energy and Technology Committee
HB 5475In CommitteeTo amend statutory provisions concerning a police officer’s viewing of a recording from body-worn recording equipment under certain circumstances.Judiciary Committee

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posted by: robn on March 14, 2018  8:28am

While I sympathize with the idea of cleanliness, this sounds like another Connecticut tax gimmick. The deposit on every deposit bottle or can you recycle is legally considered abandoned and goes into the coffers of the state. The state soaks Connecticut taxpayers for about $10M per year.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 14, 2018  8:36am

How about also passing a bill for a deposit for political campaign lawn signs and political signs that are on poles that are left months after the elections.

posted by: HewNaven on March 14, 2018  9:21am

Malloy’s proposition is the best. There should be a deposit on EVERY bottle and can sold. Meanwhile, consumers should be offered incentives to re-use pre-approved containers and to purchase in bulk.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 14, 2018  11:04am

Another Crock of Taxes Notes:

1. Charging every higher and more expansive fees associated with bottles does nothing to curb anything. It gets the homeless rummaging through my recycling bin.

2. People who throw any bottles on the ground - nips or otherwise - will not be persuaded not to do so because of a fee. Those of us who recycle will unless it’s easier to throw it in a garbage can. I’m not storing up bottles and cans to schlep them to the freaking grocery store to stand in line behind some guy with a shopping cart filled with cans and 18 bags hanging off the side of it from his foraging.

3. This is just another in a long line of money grabs - that will benefit the state or the city. It’s a total crock.

4. One need only go to Edgewood Park - and look at all the garbage people who use the park just throw on the ground even with plenty of garbage cans. It’s disgraceful.

Why don’t these legislators ever tell the truth or get smart? There’s a problem with this kind of legislation - it’s one or the other.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 14, 2018  11:10am

There should be a deposit on every piece of legislation that is proposed - it should be paid for by the legislator(s) who draft the new laws and by any other legislator who signs on as a co-sponsor of the laws.

posted by: 1644 on March 14, 2018  11:37am

Nips are more than a litter problem.  They can facilitate drinking and driving: a driver can avoid being caught with an open container because they are small enough to either be sealed or empty.  I am pretty sure this is the technique my alcohol neighbor uses.
Overall, if we dissuade people from drinking more, whether it be in nips or otherwise,  I cannot see how that is a bad thing. And yes, many people will still litter with their containers.  However, the higher the deposit, the higher the incentive to collect the litter.  When the 5 cent deposit was first introduced,  a lot of people, particularly homeless, went about collected the litter.  As inflation has eroded the value of that five cents, litter has increased.
Moreover, most of the beverages we drink are bad for us or bad for the environment,  Soda, beer, etc. give us diabetes and organ diseases.  Water is good for us, but trucking bottles all over is far more costly for the environment than sending it through pipes, and tap water is safe for drinking, too. (Nestle is bottling water in Bloomfield from the same MDC sources that the MDC sends through it pipes.). Milk and juices are pretty much the only things that we need in bottles that are good for us.

posted by: RobotShlomo on March 14, 2018  11:47am

I find these bottles all over the place in front of my house, and I don’t think a 5¢ or a 15¢ deposit is going to do anything. It seems that most of these are thrown from cars or dropped by the homeless.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 14, 2018  11:49am

Nanny Notes:

That’s rich. Up the fees for bottles to cut down on trash but if you don’t like that rationale, tax the hell out of nips and anythung else in a bottle because it’s bad for you.

Like tobacco taxes, none will go for health promotion because the state needs the money,  wants the money. The state needs people to keep smoking, keep buying bottles for the revenue. Screw health!

posted by: HewNaven on March 14, 2018  12:20pm


We should call you THREE-EIGHTHS because that’s how many of these comments are yours.

I agree with others that collecting a nickel made a big difference when this was first introduced, but in 2018 not as much. Increase the deposit to a quarter and add a barcode to cigarette filters so we can create an incentive to pick those up. Also plastic bags.

posted by: Jefff on March 14, 2018  2:14pm

As an frequent bicyclist around New Haven, East Haven and the shoreline, I am always appalled at the number of nip bottles littering the roadside.  They can sometimes outnumber the other usual suspects: beer and soda cans, plastic water bottles and cigarette packages!  I have often done an informal count while I ride, figuring 5¢ per redeemable soda/beer/water container - and imagining 5¢ per TWO nip bottles.
In a typical 10-15 mile ride, I easily count 15-20 (and sometimes more) containers PER MILE.  That figures, at 150-300 units at 5¢ each, to a redeemable amount of $7.50 to $15.00 that people could have gotten back.
Southern CT is not a very clean place to ride, and if you’re thinking maybe VT is better, you’re wrong.  There is a ton of beer drinking going on there!

posted by: Esbey on March 14, 2018  4:56pm

A 15 or 25 cent deposit would incentivize the homeless to become an small army of litter picker-uppers.  The bottles would disappear from the streets overnight.  It is a great idea.

posted by: Jefff on March 15, 2018  3:52pm

I rode 11.3 miles today down Townsend Ave. to Lighthouse Park, along Silver Sands to E. Haven town beach, back up Hemingway to E. Haven.  11.3 miles - I spotted and counted 357 (!) plastic or metal re-cyclable containers by the side of the road - just on ONE side of the road!  At 5¢/container, that’s $17.85 worth of redeemable value. Hmm.. why do people insist on littering the public roads this way?  I have a feeling that many people are ashamed or feel guilty about coming home with these things in their cars, so they take the easy way out.  Cigarette packs are also everywhere…

posted by: JCFremont on March 15, 2018  5:36pm

Remember when Lowell Wiecker campaigned on balancing the budget on can and bottle deposits? Are these the same crooks that caused the SARAH recycle centers to close? $.15 deposit! As Wendy said Are You People on Drugs!

posted by: 1644 on March 18, 2018  10:18am

The purpose of the deposit was to keep people from littering, or, alternatively, give others an incentive to pick-up litter.  As Jeff’s post shows, it is no longer working.  While Jeff counted the bottles, it doesn’t sound like the five to seventeen dollars he would have gotten from stooping was incentive enough to stop and collect.  If we raised the deposit to 25 cents, a lot fewer people would redeem the bottles, and a lot more people would aggressively pick them up off our streets and sidewalks.  Five cents just isn’t doing the job any more.