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LITTLE SISTER

Little Sister is an all-day café & bakery that brings the color & tropical energy of Puerto Rico to the Hope Street neighborhood! They have also put that energy into making their cafe zero waste through a variety of sustainability initiatives.

Why did you decide to go zero single use plastic?

I’m super sick of generating so much trash and it makes me feel shame to enable that with single use plastic takeout packaging! Hardly any of it is recyclable and the compostable plastics require facilities that are not available in Rhode Island (and most of them end up in the landfill from peoples’ homes), I don’t believe they do much good. I also wanted more space to store our growing wine collection."

 

What are some of the challenges with this?

People look at you funny so we’ve practiced how to communicate it effectively. Setting the right expectations with people who want straws or cold drinks to go is important. I feel like that’s the only challenge, just knowing you’re doing something highly unusual in a takeout context and the fear that customers will not receive it well. I’ve learned to think, we’re selling the drink and not the disposable cup. The disposable cup has always been a courtesy and we cannot afford to offer it anymore for environmental concerns. 

 

What are some of the rewards?

There are many! Less trash on premise, so lower cost to dispose. Lower costs of packaging. More storage space. Encouraging a takeout culture that’s more sustainable. Reusable tumblers keep drinks colder longer anyway! God’s light shining down on me for caring for our planet. 

 

How do you hope to grow or improve your sustainable efforts?

We already do a lot by limiting takeout, eliminating single use plastic takeout packaging and composting all food waste. We’d like to find a solution for disposing/reusing wine bottles. We go through a lot of wine! Only 31% of wine bottles are recycled and recycling is energy intensive anyway. We’ve started bottling our Little Sister rosé wine that comes in a keg from Anchor & Hope (in Rumford) in reusable bottles that folks can bring back! We are hoping for a way to reuse the rest of the bottles.

Learn more about LIttle Sister and their sustainability initiatives here

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Photo courtesy of Little Sister's Website

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Photo courtesy of Little Sister's Instagram

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Oyster Platter | Photo Credit: Noreen Wasti

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