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Regulating 'Nips': Bill Would Add Deposit On Mini Bottles

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, January 22, 2020 (State House News Service) -- Over a six-month period, volunteers with a local Falmouth group counted every piece of litter they could find on the town's roadways and grouped the items into 23 different categories. Almost a third of the trash they found came from a single category: miniature bottles of alcohol, often referred to as "nips."

That "amazing number," Falmouth Litter Reduction Team Member Alan Robinson told lawmakers Wednesday, underlines the reason advocates continue to push for legislation that would help regulate the spread of the bottles.

"It speaks to the prevalence of nips," Robinson, who presented a graph with the group's findings to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said. "We have every reason to believe that the roadsides of Falmouth are not unique. I would wager that similar numbers can be found throughout the commonwealth."

Legislation before the committee (H 2881 / S 452) would put miniatures that can hold 100 milliliters under the state's existing "bottle bill" law, charging the same 5-cent deposit on their sale as other bottles. Supporters say a deposit is the only reliable way to cut down on litter, pointing to the success of a similar law in Maine that went into effect last year.

The bipartisan legislation cleared the committee last year but stalled out in the House Ways and Means Committee. Supportive lawmakers are pressing again this session and have 81 cosponsors on board.

Robert Mellion, executive director of the Massachusetts Package Stores Association, told lawmakers Wednesday that businesses would likely offer "a lot of opposition" to the bill as drafted because of frustrations over existing recycling processes and flaws with the machines.

(© Copyright 2020 State House News Service)

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