“Theoretically, any roaster down the road could literally be self-
powering themselves,” Stell says. “That is really, really cutting edge
and groundbreaking. This is an exciting opportunity, not just for cof-
fee roasters, but for any company that produces heat in their process.
It is a natural for any manufacturer that has emission controls.”
Energy Trust of Oregon, a state-run incentive primarily for home-
owners to make themselves more energy efficient, gave Portland
Coffee a $20,000 grant towards the generator’s $70,000 purchase price,
and Portland Roasting Coffee also worked with Heat is Power, a non-
profit promoting waste heat to power.
With its Pacific Northwest location and small 25,000 square-foot
factory, Stell says more traditional green energy applications, like
solar and windmills, were not practical. The first generator produces
25 kilowatts of power. Stell would like to eventually add three more
generators, producing 100 kilowatts and store excess power in batter-
ies to power the plant when the roasters are down. “We’re looking for-
ward to the next five to 10 years,” he says. “I don’t know how realistic
it is to say we could be off the grid, but our bills will only keep going
down by adding new generators.”
New England is not exactly known for its endless sunshine, but that
has not stopped The Country Hen organic egg farm from installing
a 350,000-kilowatt solar panel system on the roofs of its henhouses.
continued from page 44
for what they’ve done to help us with their bagging expertise,
increasing the number of items per bag and ensuring that our
plastic bags can hold it. We are going to print this milestone on
our plastic bags and even mention it on our shopping carts.”
Other retailers are also doing their part to ensure their bags do
not end up as part of the waste stream. Skogen’s Festival Foods,
an operator of 24 stores across Wisconsin, runs Bag to Benches,
where plastic bags returned by shoppers are made into benches
and other plastic lumber products. Shoppers simply deposit their
used bags in the Bags to Benches box outside of each store.
“It takes 3,900 plastic bags to make a bench, and all of our
stores have at least two of these recycled benches,” says Nina
Winistorfer, community involvement coordinator, for Skogen’s
Festival Foods, based in De Pere, Wis.
The bags are placed on trucks going back to the Supervalu
distribution center where they are compacted into bales. “From
there they are sent to a company in Chicago called Trex where
they are melted down and turned into wood alternatives,”
Winistorfer says. “They not only go into benches, but also decking
products, picnic tables, boards, etc. We collect over 20,000 bags a
year, so we have a lot of bags that are donated,” she says.
Create clean & organized spaces
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