I am writing as a resident of Falmouth, where in September 2020 Falmouth Town Meeting voted to ban the sale of alcohol miniatures (aka nips) in sizes of 100 ml or smaller. As the Plymouth community is debating and will soon be voting on whether to support or overturn Plymouth Town Meeting’s vote to institute a similar ban, it would be valuable to share Falmouth’s recent experience.
Prior to Falmouth’s ban going into effect on October 1, 2021, nips could be found anywhere and everywhere in Falmouth – roadsides, Main Street sidewalks, parking lots, quiet residential streets, school yards, town green. Litter surveys established that nips comprised a third of littered items along Falmouth roadsides. Two years after the ban went into effect, nip litter represents just 5 percent of Falmouth’s greatly diminished roadside litter.
Arguments being made by the Plymouth liquor store owners that they will be hurt financially, have to lay off staff and see their business travel to other communities are the same that were voiced by liquor store owners in Falmouth. I recently spoke with four Falmouth liquor store owners and managers. None reported a significant loss of revenue. None had nip ban-related layoffs. One told me that the impact was much less than they had feared. As a life-long resident of Falmouth, he is happy to see so much less litter in our community. Another only wished that towns throughout Massachusetts followed Falmouth’s lead. No liquor stores have closed in Falmouth.
Based on our experience in Falmouth, the ban on the sale of alcohol miniatures will significantly reduce litter in Plymouth without damaging liquor stores owners’ businesses.
Robinson is co-founder of Litter Free Falmouth.
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