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163 Connecticut town and cities receive first payments from nip bottle surcharge

nip bottle
Lorianne DiSabato

Cities and towns in Connecticut are getting the first round of checks from a new surcharge placed on mini liquor bottles, known as nips.

Last October, the state placed a five-cent surcharge on the sale of alcohol bottles smaller than 50 milliliters. The money goes back to municipalities to address littering — which often includes discarded nip bottles. Towns received their first checks at the end of April.

“We actually collected $1.8 million in nickels and we distributed that to 163 towns and municipalities throughout the state of Connecticut,” said Larry Cafero, executive director of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, which supported the surcharge bill. “That legislation specifies that that money has to be used for an environmental purpose.”

Cafero said some towns will use the money to fund new environmental-related positions, while others will purchase street sweepers and equipment to filter litter from storm drains.

Norwich City Manager John Salamone said the city received over $40,000 in the first round of payments. That money will fund a new job position that will oversee recycling in the city.

“This person will be in charge of making sure we maximize our recycling programs and come up with some other ideas for enforcing it,” Salamone said.

Salamone said the new position will also be responsible for educating Norwich residents about how and what to recycle.

Checks will be distributed twice a year in April and October. Six Connecticut towns will not receive checks because they do not have liquor stores.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.