Rick's Cafe switching to sustainable materials

Rick’s Cafe made the change to sustainable resources from plastic materials over the last couple of months. Plastic is convenient and inexpensive, but it ends up harming a significant portion of our wildlife, and Rick’s Cafe is leading its business toward a more eco-friendly operation.

Ryan Handran, general manager of Rick’s Cafe, said the idea came from a meeting he and Rick Welch had over Christmas break to determine what they could improve. Welch, being an animal lover and president of the local Oktibbeha County Humane Society, proposed the idea of making the switch to reusable and recyclable material. Many have seen the damage done to these animals near the coastline, and Rick’s Cafe is hoping to help put an end to it.

While the plastics in the inventory are disposed, Rick’s Cafe is currently in the process of introducing new straws, cups and to-go boxes that are all biodegradable. These items consist of compostable cups, wax-based water cups, hay straws and sugarcane boxes.

The regular drinking cups are made from a plant-based biopolymer and are compostable. These cups break down in sunlight, or if they are left outside. The cups are not necessarily designed to break down in a home compost pile, but they can break down just about everywhere else. Even though they are eco-friendly, these cups are even sturdier and more practical than before.

Rick’s new water cups also have a new design and are even faster to break down than their regular cups. These wax-based cups are strictly for water, and they have a unique design setting them apart. The design is a unique blue and purple swirl reminiscent of popular cups from the 1990’s. Out of the options that were polled with customers, these nostalgic cups were the most popular and are being implemented as soon as possible.

The straws are a huge hit so far for Rick’s Cafe because of how well they fit the bar's aesthetic. These new straws are made of hay for the country-themed bar. Out of the three new items, the straws are the easiest to break down. 

Lastly, Rick’s new to-go boxes have a familiar look and are made from sugarcane. These containers are studier than styrofoam, and can hold more weight without breaking. Again, these are 100 percent biodegradable.

Malorie Ross, a bartender at Rick’s, said the transition to these new materials has been seamless without issues.

Along with the new items, Rick’s is also using and reusing more glass. Shot glasses, drink glasses and other miscellaneous glass items are being brought in to maintain their new agenda. Bringing in this much glass, along with the new cups and straws, has not been cheap for Rick’s. Being the first bar to implement these things is a big risk.

“Right now, we’re on the heavy side of the wave, and once we change our behaviors and get used to this… it will get cheaper,” Handran said.

Rick’s Cafe participating in the eco-friendly movement hopes others will join the cause to make the world a better place in Starkville and nationwide.

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