Nearly 400,000 nip bottles were sold in West Hartford between Oct. 1, 2021 and Oct. 1, 2022.
By Ronni Newton
Oct. 1 marked a year since a 5-cent surcharge went into effect on the sale of 50mL liquor bottles – aka “nips” – and statewide the program has generated $4.2 million for Connecticut cities and towns in its first year, with West Hartford receiving a total of $44,365.96 based on the sale of 390,768 nip bottles.
In accordance with a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2021, every six months the municipalities where the bottles were sold receives 5 cents per nip bottle, with the the town expected to use the revenue for environmental purposes. While lawmakers had initially discussed a bottle deposit to discourage littering, there are no redemption machines that can accept the small bottles, which often end up discarded along roadways and the surcharge – proposed by the nonprofit Three Tiers for Connecticut, which represents wine and spirits wholesalers throughout the state – was adopted as an alternative.
“This program has over-performed our expectations in its first year, and we’re thrilled about it,” Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr., president and treasurer of Three Tiers for Connecticut and executive director of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, Inc. said in a statement. “Now, as intended, that money generated by the environmental fees is in the hands of our cities and towns, many of which are using those dollars to keep their roadsides, waterways and public spaces litter-free,” he said.
“This simple program is a national model and it’s making a real difference in our state,” said Cafero. “Connecticut’s wine and spirits industry recognized that litter from our 50mL nip containers was a problem that needed to be addressed, so our members stepped up with a solution that provides direct funding to municipalities so they have more resources to combat litter. We’re excited to watch these nickels get put to work.”
West Hartford received $24,827.56 for the first six months, with the remainder of the $44,365.96 total in the second installment.
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