A Sustainable March: Reduce, Recycle, Repurpose

Since Temple Coffee’s establishment in 2005, we have grown from a single retail outlet to a multi-faceted pillar of coffee. Ten years later we not only manage our own five retail locations, but also the roasting, wholesale, and distribution of some of the highest quality coffees in Sacramento.

Temple has always purchased 100% renewable energy, associated itself with more-than-fair-trade coffees, and done our best to reduce, recycle, and re-purpose.

Our goal for 2016 is to be even more sustainable and transparent in our practices, explain every step of the process, and present hard numbers based on real data. In order to do this, we will be releasing information about new practices on key areas of our business on a monthly basis with an emphasis on how it compares to our old methodologies.

In February we released the first Return to Origin (RTO) report and in March we revealed our Employee Sustainability Program (ESP). This month, we will focus on how Temple as a business can reduce, recycle and, re-purpose materials that we use on a daily basis.

Here are a few things that we are already doing:

• Purchasing 100% renewable green energy since 2005
• Reducing in-house consumption
o Steps of Service encourage use of ceramic cups, plates, etc.
• Encouraging the use of re-useable to-go cups
• Zero landfill waste since 2014 – recycling and compost only

We would like to take our commitments further with more focus on how we as a business can recycle, reduce, and re-purpose materials that we use on a daily basis. These projects need to be measurable and quantifiable. We will be presenting an update on our projects in our mid-year (July) Sustainability Report Card.

With the intent of focusing on the most wasteful areas of each sector of our business, we will break our operations into three categories: Retail/Café Operations, Roasting Operations, and Training Operations.


Retail Operations

Even though we purchase 100% renewable energy and use energy efficient LED light bulbs company-wide, it is always a good thing to limit usage. Over the past two years, Temple has updated all of our equipment to newer, more efficient energy saving equipment.
Coffee shops are extremely high in energy consumption due to the fact that we are essentially heating water to 210F and holding it there for 18 hours a day. An average café, will have electrical service of 200-400 Amps. An average modern home requires around 100 Amps.
To attempt to be as efficient as possible while still operating and serving the best quality beverages possible, we will be using a type of “ECO” mode on all of our coffee brewing equipment. This mode, allows us to set a timer to power down the water boilers in all of our equipment when not in use.


Roasting Operations

Roasting is a process where we use energy to “cook” the raw coffee seeds. The roasting process itself uses about 1,000BTU of natural gas to roast 1 kilo (2.2Lbs) of coffee. In addition, due to air quality regulations we must clean the emissions from our roaster. The most common way to do this is with an afterburner. An afterburner works just as it sounds: exhaust from the roaster enters the afterburner where smoke, odor, and particulate are incinerated at 1100F – 1400F.
As a rule of thumb, an afterburner takes 10 times more natural gas to operate than a roaster. This means that our 15kg roaster uses 15,000BTU of gas, and our afterburner uses 150,000BTU.
Due to our increase in volume we will be installing a new 60kg roaster this summer. As part of our commitment to being as efficient as possible and create new industry standards we are pioneering a wet scrubber for exhaust treatment on our new 60kg roaster to be installed this summer. This system will use less than 5 gallons of water a day to treat our exhaust. At the end of each roast day, the dirty water will be turned into biofuel or pumped to water and fertilize our flower beds. As with most things that are truly sustainable, this system will use less gas, create less emissions, and the byproduct can be repurposed; a win-win situation for everyone.


Training Operations

At Temple we do a lot of training. This is a great thing for beverage quality, service, and customer experience but it can also lead to massive food waste (primarily milk and coffee) which ultimately means wasted carbon output. As a business we need to constantly train new and advancing employees in order to continue to operate. The question is, how do we continue to train at the same level of quality without wasting product? The answer is simple: reduce waste by instilling a habit of more contentious use of ingredients in our staff.
Prior to now, materials such as milk and coffee used for training have not been closely monitored. Now they are. We will be re-purposing extra coffee from our own retail locations into our training program, we will also be using soapy water to teach milk steaming (yes, it works), and streamlining our coffee ordering to reduce overages.

In January 2016, we used:
5.5 Lbs of coffee per daily session per person (*2.607 Lbs of CO2 per roasted Lb)
*4.98kg CO2 / Kg green Costa Rican Coffee exported to Europe
This is not a true figure, just a reference
2.25 gallons of milk per daily session w/milk per person (**17.6 Lbs of CO2 per gallon)

Our goal for 2016 will be:
Reduce new coffee usage (through re-purposing) by 25% or 1.4Lbs per day per person  (*3.64Lbs of CO2 per person per day)
Reduce milk by .5 gallons a day per person. (*8.8 Lbs of CO2 improvement a day per person)

If the above goals are met, a typical training session of 3 people over 16 days would result in a reduction of 491.52Lbs of CO2 output per training group. With an average of 12 training groups a year, we could potentially save nearly 6,000Lbs of CO2 emission a year!


*Based on 4.98 kg CO2e / kg of green Costa Rican coffee exported, roasted, packed, and consumed in Europe. http://www.balas.org/BALAS_2013_proceedings_data/data/documents/p639212.pdf

** Based on the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy http://www.usdairy.com/~/media/usd/public/dairysenvironmentalfootprint.pdf.pdf