christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Nips on the shelves of CT Beverage Mart (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

NEW BRITAIN, CT – The wine and spirit industry teamed up with Live Green on Tuesday to announce a five-year anti-litter campaign dubbed “Don’t Trash Connecticut – Nip It In The Bin!”

“We are not ignorant to the fact that people are concerned about litter in general,” Lawrence Cafero Jr., executive director of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, said at a press conference at CT Beverage Mart.

He said one of the products that gets a lot of attention when it comes to litter is the nip.

Nips are those small 50 ml containers of alcohol that litter the road sides and find their way into rivers and streams.

Cafero said they are raising public awareness for proper disposal by sending signs to all 1,250 package stores in Connecticut.

Stephen Downes, president of the Connecticut Package Stores Association and owner of CT Beverage Mart, said he thinks point-of-sale education will help customers develop good habits.

“We put the signs up and I think this is going to work,” Downes said. “There’s a lot of nips sold in the state. I think most of them are disposed of properly, but let’s try to get them all disposed of properly.”

Connecticut currently has a nickel bottle deposit on beer, soda and noncarbonated beverages, but there are some who would like to see it expanded to nips.

christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Lawrence Cafero Jr., executive director of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Rep. Kurt Vail, R-Stafford Springs, said he would like to see nips be included in a redemption program.

“Establishing a five-cent recycling deposit would provide an incentive for these bottles to be recycled by the consumer instead of littered across our streets and landscapes,” Vail said in written testimony.

However, nips are not part of legislation seeking to expand the bottle deposit bill.

a green buttton that says support and red button that says oppose

Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, said she doesn’t think the type of person who frequently buys nips is interested in bringing them back to the store to reclaim their nickel.

Mushinsky said she would like to ban nips, but knows that’s probably unlikely. She said she thinks having a deposit on them would help because even if the person drinking them doesn’t return them at least the nonprofit or charity picking up the litter will benefit.

Cafero said just putting a deposit on it won’t solve the problem.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because it has a deposit on it, people won’t litter,” Cafero said.

He said of the two clean ups they’ve done, a number of the containers had a deposit on them.

“We don’t believe that’s the actual issue from an industry standpoint,” Cafero said.

Maine is the only state in New England with a bottle deposit fee on the 50 ml nip.

Julie Cammarata, the principal of the lobbying firm Cammarata Government Affairs, said the issue of nips is really a public health issue that should be addressed by the Public Health Committee.

Mushinsky said people who are drinking nips are looking for quick consumption. They are also looking to conceal it.

Those little bottles cause a lot of litter.

Mushinsky said the nips float all over the place and end up on the shoreline.

Cafero said the new nonprofit called Three Tiers for Connecticut is doing a clean up along the Housatonic River on April 18. He said already they have hosted two community clean ups in West Haven and Norwalk where 90 volunteers picked up 800 pounds of trash.

Further, Cafero said they are also working with municipalities to purchase trash and recycling containers wherever they are needed the most in those communities.