“I am realizing that the problem is even bigger than I thought,” said Cynthia Chesky from Bristol.
The mini-bottles of liquor are creating a problem in the city.
“Drink where you’re supposed to and put it away where you’re supposed to,” said Jewel Rudin, a liquor store clerk in Glastonbury.
That’s the concept, but in 2021, rampant trash prompted Connecticut to add a five-cent surcharge for every mini bottle of alcohol sold.
The money would go back to the local towns and cities where the bottle was sold, money to be used at their discretion to control litter.
“The industry is monitoring that, the industry is monitoring that, so the state has no input,” said State Rep. Joseph Gresko (D-Stratford), co-chairman of the Environment Committee.
For Chesky, just going for a walk has engaged her in the conversation.
“I decided to keep (a) tally of how many I collected,” he said.
In just over a month, Chesky and her husband have collected nearly 7,000 mini bottles of alcohol across Bristol.
“The program is not working well. The nickel-per-nip, and our legislation needs to know that this is a serious problem,” Chesky said.
From October 2021 through September 2022, Bristol earned approximately $95,000 from the program, the eighth-highest total in the state.
That money will be paid to the state in multiple installments. According to Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano, the city has already received approximately $42,000 of that sum.
“That money needs to be spent on litter control or some kind of environmental purpose,” Gresko said.
Caggiano said the city has yet to find a solution to the problem, but plans to address it at its public works meeting later this week.
Gresko said there is new legislation this year that would allow the Environmental Quality Council to monitor that requirement.
“We will give them the support they need so that when they contact the municipality they are not left hanging and we can find out what the money is being spent on,” he said.
Chesky said he would like each town or city to have the ability to decide whether or not to allow mini-bottles of alcohol to be sold. Gresko said that he supported that idea.