UPDATED: Press Release: Bill Combatting “Nip Litter” Set for June 13 Hearing
Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 @ 5:44PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 7, 2017
State Rep. Hunt Bill Combatting “Nip Litter” Set for June 13 Hearing
BOSTON – One of state Representative Randy Hunt’s (R-Sandwich) most popular bills, H.3528, An Act promoting the proper disposal of miniatures, has received a hearing date of Tuesday, June 13th. It will be heard before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy at 1:00PM in the State House, Room A-2. This proposed legislation seeks to encourage the recycling of miniatures–colloquially known as “nips”–and bottles under 100ml in volume that contain alcohol by adding them to the state’s bottle deposit statute.
The littering of nips is a highly-visible problem not just on Cape Cod, but throughout all of Massachusetts. Miniatures are sold for as little as 75 cents per bottle, making them a product that has increased in popularity in recent years. Consequentially, they are frequently seen emptied and discarded along the state’s roadways, parks, and beaches; posing a nuisance that extends beyond their visible unsightliness. Rep. Hunt believes that providing a financial incentive for community members to pick nips up will help reduce this “nip litter,” as it is often called.
The primary objective of this bill is to generate dialogue on littering by proposing a policy prescription to help reduce it. “I hope that by wielding this legislation, we can also kick-start deeper conversation on the issues of underage drinking and driving under the influence,” said Rep. Hunt, “as nips are frequently associated with those societal concerns.”
Since the bill’s filing back in January, Rep. Hunt’s office has received a high volume of phone calls, emails, letters, and petitions from citizens and activists from all over the Commonwealth in support of this policy idea. Supporters include Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area, and the Garden Club of Harwich. The Container Recycling Institute, an organization based in California, has even submitted testimony in support of the bill.
The Representative has been blown away by the significant public support and attention this bill has received. “I am moved by the amount of support that this bill has received so far. Our work, however, will not be finished until this bill is passed into law, which won’t happen without the continued support of activists, citizens, and the media,” stated Rep. Hunt.
One of those activists, Neil Rhein, the Executive Director of Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, has taken on an instrumental in role in helping to organize the grassroots effort promoting this bill. “During this year’s Great Massachusetts Litter Cleanup, volunteer groups from across the state reported that the volume of empty nip bottles they collected was alarming,” noted Rhein. “We support any measure that will encourage people to dispose of ‘nips’ correctly and responsibly.”
Rhein, along with Paul Hebert, a Barnstable Town Councilor and the owner of Charitable Redemption Partnerships, have both started petition processes, which have been very effective in obtaining signatures of citizens and students in support of the policy proposal. Hebert was one of the bill’s earliest supporters; he has been a vocal and active proponent of the paper petition process. Rhein and Keep Massachusetts Beautiful have circulated an online petition through Change.org, which, as of 5:00PM today, has generated almost 1,000 signatures.
An information sheet on H.3528, An Act promoting the proper disposal of miniatures, can be found here. [NOTE: the linked document has been updated to include the most up-to-date information on the bill]