Wareham Land Trust volunteers battle 'nips'

By Michaella Sheridan | Oct 12, 2016
Photo by: Michaella Sheridan Wareham Land Trust volunteer Tom Kinsky has collected close to 700 bottles of mini-liqour bottles since December.

Single serving liquor bottles, known as “nips,” are small, but they’ve been creating a big problem at Wareham Land Trust’s Tweedy and Barnes Conservation Area.

Tom Kinsky, the volunteer land steward for the West Wareham property, has collected close to 700 nips there since last December. The glass bottles are found by the dozens in a concentrated area along Blackmore Pond Road, bordering Tweedy and Barnes. The pattern has lead Kinsky to believe that someone is buying a nip every day, drinking it on the road, and chucking the bottle out the window.

Kinsky first noticed the accumulating nips on his bi-annual land steward monitoring trip last December when he collected 300 bottles from the roadside. He’s collected at least 150 bottles on each monitoring trip since then.

“The person is choosing [this area] and thinking just because it’s woods it’s not gonna bother anybody, but it bothers me and it bothers everybody else who walks or jogs or goes by here and sees the trash,” Kinsky said.

Littered nip bottles have become a noticeable problem in Wareham. In 2014, Selectwoman Judith Whiteside asked her fellow board members to explore banning nip sales as a public safety and environmental issue. To support her case at a Board of Selectmen meeting in May of 2014, residents Jim and Mary Bruce brought four large trash bags full of empty bottles they collected from one stretch of road in West Wareham.

The ban would have required a special act of state legislation. That high hurdle prevented any further action and nips continue to litter the roadsides.

Cathy Phinney, a retired nurse and a lifelong Wareham resident said of the bottles, “they’re everywhere, you can’t go out without picking up at least a dozen of them. I find it very discouraging as someone who routinely picks up trash. I don’t know how you change the attitude but that’s what needs to happen.”

Kinsky stops by Tweedy and Barnes every three to four months to clean up the reappearing nips because he said there’s value in keeping natural spaces clean. The Restoration Ecologist for Buzzards Bay Coalition, Sara Quintal, explained that if the nips were left where they are, they would harm plants and other organisms by blocking sunlight and taking up space on the soil’s surface.

As the bottle slowly decomposes, it poses a risk to wildlife. If the bottle breaks, those shards of glass could injure animals who are searching for food in the area. Should an animal ingest a glass shard, it will most likely cause serious health issues or even death, she said.

While chucking trash out the car window may seem like a quick and easy solution, it has a lasting effect on community land and community members.

“The land is there and we’re all benefiting from it with our cleaner water and our calmer lifestyle whether or not we’re on the properties ourselves,” Kinsky said.

The Wareham Land Trust is made up entirely of volunteers just like Kinsky who are passionate about preserving Wareham’s open space and irreplaceable natural resources for the benefit of everyone.

The Wareham Land Trust encourages everyone to dispose of their trash responsibly.

For more information on the Wareham Land Trust or to volunteer, call 508-295-0211 or email info@warehamlandtrust.org.

Comments (12)
Posted by: Chaka | Oct 12, 2016 20:25

Time to ban nips in Wareham. The people who buy them have no idea what a trash can is. Sorry losers, time to stop drinking in the car or doing shots outside the cash market.


Posted by: cranky pants | Oct 12, 2016 21:36

As an avid cyclist I see these bottles everywhere. I often dream of the day where there is a 5 cent redemption for each bottle...

... I'd build a trailer and retire simply collecting bottles.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Oct 13, 2016 08:46

Lets ban everything and everyone just go primitive and just live off the land. With no nip bottles the area with become ripe with animals to harvest and consume. Its not the nip bottles that are the problem. Its the garbage that throws them out. Catch the violators and fine the crap out of them.

Posted by: Don't Trash Wareham | Oct 13, 2016 09:48

How do you catch the violators? If you have a solution, please contact the police department and harbormaster's offices and let them know. They have both given citations when they CATCH the person in the act. People generally don't throw trash on the ground in front of these officers. That is why, across the nation, there are very few people who are caught and fined for littering. Litter prevention is the key.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Oct 13, 2016 11:02

Just set up hidden cameras in the area of the concentrations. People are creatures of habit and will repeat. If they feel its a good spot dispose of bottles the next time thru they will do it again in the same spot. Most likely its same people over and over again. Position cameras so they catch the plate numbers so they can be tracked. Now that would be a good use of CPC funds.

Posted by: sadie | Oct 13, 2016 14:04

Hell must have frozen over because I agree with Spere. Cameras should be set up at all the hot spots in town. Amazon has one for $109.00 that is wide angle, motion sensor, night vision. Maybe is the harbormaster asked or the police or the don't trash Wareham People could set up a go fund me or just an address people could mail checks or drop of money. I could donate part of the cost but not all of it.

I think the town should also find out if the cameras are set up on say Minot ave and someone throws something out of the car can they ticket the owner of the car. If drugs are found in the car everyone is charged or at least the driver is charged because he had control of the car.

Posted by: brazz | Oct 13, 2016 20:43

I personally like CRANKY PANTS ideas. These people most likely are low on money which is the reason they by "nips". If they had a reason to bring them back, less would be left in the woods and roads.

SADIE- cameras have  additional cost like video/photos be storage /powering the cameras, paying someone to watch and identify the litterbugs.

Posted by: sadie | Oct 13, 2016 21:06

You could post their pictures and if you get a license plate number you can identify them. I think the fine for littering is a lot 180.00 or something. The ticket money could pay for the additional cost. There is a sign on Minot Ave. with the fine but it in bad shape and usually covered by brush. I wonder if town meeting can raise the fine?? Who decides on the amount of the fine?

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Oct 13, 2016 22:05

I see more water bottles than nip bottles, but would support a deposit on both.

Posted by: Snowman | Oct 14, 2016 08:35

My guess is that the cost of a $109 camera is 1000 x that after factoring in time to install cameras,  replace cameras, download images, review images,  obtains summonses, deliver summonses, extra labor, extra batteries, theft of the camera, etc., etc.  Then is it admissible in court? The town's lawyers will love this billable hour bonanza.

And imagine the public outcry right here on this site when news breaks that the WPD is spending its limited resources wiring up the wood to catch "nip throwers" instead of trying to deal with the real criminal element.

Posted by: brazz | Oct 14, 2016 11:57

SNOWMAN - That's exactly what I was thinking.

Posted by: sadie | Oct 14, 2016 18:32

good points snow. If you type in cameras litterbugs on the internet, you get a lot of results. A lot of towns across the country are installing cameras different countries are also installing cameras, seems littering is world wide.

Usually towns  start out with 5 or 6 cameras, they place them high on a pole so people can't steal them, the newer ones are solar ( no batteries needed) photos are posted in the paper or online to identify the person. Some towns post the photos as a way to shame people.

MOBILE, Alabama – Litterbugs could be getting something they don't want: A shaming photo posted on Keep Mobile Beautiful's Facebook page.

 Fines need to be increased, some of the fines are as high as $1000.00 and if  considered a health issue jail time or community service can be added to the fine.

There is one town that is looking into making it legal to fine someone who throws litter from a car similar to the cameras that catch people running red lights.

Don't they mail out the tickets from the red light cameras?

A lot of the towns found grants or donations from stores to purchase the cameras.


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