MERIDEN — City leaders hope newly-proposed state legislation will curb the number of “nip” bottles on the Meriden Green.
The legislation would apply the state’s five-cent bottle deposit bill to the 50-milliliter bottles of alcohol, which currently aren’t subject to the deposit charge and typically cost $1 to $1.50.
At a recent City Council meeting, City Manager Tim Coon said the city has been exploring ways to address nip bottles discarded on the Green. Coon said trash bins are located around the perimeter of the green, which opened in 2016.
“The biggest thing we’d like to do is push our state legislature to support this bill for the nip bottles,” Coon said in an interview this week. “It is an ongoing issue and its pretty consistent across all municipalities.”
Coon said Public Works Director Howard Weissberg is also considering some other solutions, such as putting “traps” in the sewer grates to prevent the bottles from getting in the stormwater system.
Coon and Weissberg recently met with Mohammed Khan, the owner of Big M Liquor located across from the Green, to discuss the issue. Coon said Khan was “very cooperative and very much wished to be a part of the solution.”
Coon said Khan hires someone to pick up discarded nip bottles in the immediate vicinity of his store, 71 Pratt St., but the city understands that he’s not going to pay the person to clean up the Green.
“There has to be holistic approach because Big M is not the only liquor store in the city,” Coon said. Neither Khan nor Carroll Hughes, executive director of the Connecticut Package Store Association, could be reached for comment this week.
State Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, whose House district includes the Meriden Green, said she supports applying the deposit charge to nip purchases.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Santiago said.
Three bills propose applying the deposit on nip bottles. All three bills have been referred to the legislature’s Joint Environmental Committee, which Santiago doesn’t sit on.
Santiago said she’s never received complaints about nip bottles being littered at the Meriden Green, but noted other parks around the city also get polluted with the bottles.
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