WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State Senator John Velis of Westfield voiced his support Tuesday night for a new measure looking to incentivize residents to recycle small “nip” bottles. 

In his testimony, Velis referenced the late Jack Coughlin, an Agawam native who was well known for his efforts to clean up roadside trash. He was seriously injured after a vehicle struck him doing just that. He suffered multiple fractures and was left paralyzed. On April 17, at the age of 78, Coughlin died at the Berkshire Medical Center after being hospitalized for three months.

“Jack had endless energy and spent most of his retired years walking through Agawam and the surrounding communities, picking up these “nip” bottles and ensuring they were disposed of properly,” stated Senator Velis in his letter to the Committee. “While he was known to organize community clean-ups and recruit volunteers, more often than not Jack would simply go out on his own and collect as many “nips” as he could himself, often walking up to ten miles a day. Jack didn’t just believe that a single person could make a difference, he proved it.”

The bill Velis is supporting would place a 5-cent deposit on nips, just like full-size cans and bottles. It’s a measure Coughlin himself also supported. 

Velis added that Mr. Coughlin was an advocate for including miniature bottles in amending Massachusetts bottle deposit laws. He attended meetings with local groups and municipal boards and visited the State House multiple times to testify in support of this legislation.