New Bedford Considers Nip Bottle Sales Ban
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The New Bedford Licensing Board will hold a public hearing and vote on whether to ban the sale of nip bottles in the city on Monday night.
The regulation would prohibit the sale of small containers with 1.7 ounces of alcohol, commonly known as nip bottles.
If enacted, the regulation would not go into effect until all liquor stores in New Bedford are able to comply with the ban. The licensing board will lay out a timeline for business to follow.
The proposal comes after the town of Fairhaven passed a nip bottle ban in May.
Other towns and cities that banned nip bottle sales include Newton, Chelsea, Wareham, Mashpee, Nantucket and Falmouth.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said he supports the ban and said it would help address littering in neighborhoods.
He said many constituents have complained about the littering of nip bottles and that people are not picking them up after they finish their drink.
“I personally support the ban because it has become clear that nips contribute disproportionately to the City’s litter problem in many neighborhoods, despite the best efforts of City employees and civic-minded residents to pick them up,” Mitchell said. “The police department has also expressed concern about the association of nip consumption and public drunkenness.”
The proposed ban on nip bottles has received mixed reaction from New Bedford residents.
Some have expressed support for the ban as a way to keep the city clean while others said it would hurt local businesses.
The Freitas Package Store, a liquor store on Cove Road, wrote on Facebook the ban would be detrimental due to their popularity with customers.
“New Bedford’s nip ban isn’t good for businesses or customers. Banning them is not the answer to the littering issue in the city,” the company wrote. “Whoever is littering the little sized bottles will only litter the next size up.”
City Councilor-at-Large Ian Abreu said on SouthCoast Now Wednesday he was “vehemently” against the ban.
Abreu acknowledged the increase in littering throughout the city but said banning nip bottle sales would hurt businesses for a choice the litterers made.
He suggested adding more trash receptacles would be a more effective way to mitigate the spread of trash rather than banning nip bottles.
“There are ways to go around this," Abreu said. "There’s no silver bullet for this.”
Another suggestion proposed by elected officials and businesses is to allow a three to five cent deposit on nip bottles.
Ward 2 Councilor Maria Giesta said on SouthCoast Now on Monday that she is working with Rep. Chris Hendricks (D-New Bedford) on a bill that would add nip bottles to the list of bottles under Massachusetts law that can require a deposit.
Giesta said she does not support a ban, but acknowledged the concerns of constituents and residents who say the increase in littering has become unsustainable.
She said both liquor store owners and consumers need to take more responsibility to ensure the bottles are thrown out rather than left on the ground.
“It is a little bit of a crisis," Giesta said. “I don’t like seeing them all over the ground. I do believe everyone is responsible to a certain extent.”