‘Nips’ sales hit 152,000 in Bethel, town relies heavily on deposits

BETHEL, CT — Ditch it for that tiny little bottle of booze, the “nip.”

Picked up by school kids to be shared behind the bleachers, and scooped up from hotel mini-bars by expense-fueled business travelers, these 50ml tastes have become Americana. Now, in Connecticut, they have become a significant source of revenue for local municipalities.

Last fall, the state passed a law that required a five-cent surcharge on every pinch sold, a regulation championed by Democratic Sen. Christine Cohen (12th District), chair of the Senate Environment Committee. Cohen said the law and its findings represent “a big step forward in reducing waste and ensuring bottles and cans are properly recycled.”

The surcharge, which came into effect on October 1, 2021, is passed on to the retailer and then to the consumer by alcohol wholesalers. And in turn, they give that money back to cities to alleviate the environmental and aesthetic havoc caused by small bottles.

In Bethel, 152,110 nips were sold in the last six months (October 1 to March 31), which generated $7,605 for the city, according to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Patch received a copy of the report that outlines how many nips are sold in a community and how much money each of the state’s 169 towns and villages will receive.

Suggestions include hiring a recycling coordinator, installing storm drain filters designed to trap solid waste and beverage container debris, purchasing a mechanical sweeper, vacuum cleaner or a broom that removes waste, etc.

— Patch editor Ellyn Santiago contributed to this report.

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