Nip Ban Kicked Down The Road Another Year

Oh well, I guess the environment can take another hit for the team. Can’t live without our Fireball. The solution to the nip bottles is not recycling: the entire recycling thing — which I bought into for years — was a sham from the beginning. The recycling program turned out to be a cynical diversion perpetrated by the plastics industry, and anyway, China has stopped buying our used plastic. We need to address this problem if only out of enlightened self-interest: We sit atop the food chain ingesting these microplastics which are now in our children’s food and tap water.

Unfortunately our elected officials have decided to listen to the liquor and plastics lobbies instead of the science. Patrick Anderson writes in the ProJo:

For the second year in a row, a move by lawmakers to ban nips statewide went nowhere in the General Assembly this year as liquor store owners warned that nip sales were keeping many businesses afloat.

Oh please. If you can’t make money running a liquor store then you are in the wrong business, and you probably shouldn’t be in retail at all. The company that makes this wretched cinnamon whiskey has plans to try a new bottle shape that would be more compatible with our recycling equipment. And here are some other ideas they have for us to do:

“We will be working with Rhode Island spirits retailers and wholesalers to educate consumers through point-of-sale materials, electronic messaging and empty-bottle litterbins to help end litter behavior,” she said, adding that this “coalition” would also be “supporting and sponsoring litter clean-up events starting in late summer / early fall.”

I think it’s safe to say that the average consumer of this candy-flavored crap is not going to carry around his empties looking for a “litterbin.” Most of these connoisseurs are purposely getting rid of evidence of the crime they are committing*.

And how nice of the Fireball people to sponsor litter clean-up events. Thanks, but we can do that without your help, and without the inevitable Fireball T-shirts and signage. I pick up litter regularly and these particular bottles are everywhere!

The lead sponsor of the nip ban was Rep. David Bennett (D-Warwick). His bill this year would have banned the sale of any alcoholic drink in a bottle — glass or plastic — smaller than 100 milliliters. Last year he proposed a 50¢ deposit. Not surprisingly, Senator Josh Miller (D-Cranston) is in this fight and this year he stuck with the 50¢ deposit idea in the Senate. He spoke with Anderson about whether a new bottle shape solves the problem:

“They have a [nip] prototype they have used in other states that works with single-stream recycling,” Miller said. “But that doesn’t seem to acknowledge the problem that they are not ending up in any receptacle.”

And they never will be, even with store owners handing out those persuasive “point-of-sale materials.”

*Underage drinking/open-container laws.


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