POST FALLS – When Terry and Rebecca Patano began the Doma Coffee Roasting Co. in 2000, they wanted more than “to just be about coffee.” They set a goal of being “an environmentally sound company,” and made a commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Today, Doma is a step ahead of most North Idaho businesses. The Patanos have already put into action what many others are just beginning to think about, and their vision is clear.
“We believe that our company has a broader responsibility than simply generating profit,” said Terry Patano. “We believe this is the new measure of success.”
Patano said it was after reading a newspaper article last year that said Coeur d’Alene produces more trash per person than any place else in the country that he decided it was time to “become a positive force for change.” Since then, he has been researching more ways his business could leave less of an environmental impact.
Doma Coffee, in Post Falls, does the usual things most do to reduce, reuse and recycle, according to Patano. The business uses low-voltage, energy-efficient lighting, eco-friendly products for cleaning and paper products made from 100 percent recycled paper. He has made plans to begin using soy-based ink and 100 percent recycled paper for all his printed materials.
Patano said nothing is really thrown away. They use shredded office paper for packaging and donate leftover coffee to various charitable organizations. The only byproduct of their roasting process, the thin skin off the coffee beans, is used as compost. Most of the burlap bags their coffee comes in are recycled by an organic farmer in the Rathdrum area, who uses them for ground cover. More recently, a couple of seamstresses have begun sewing the colorful bags from around the world into fashionable shoulder bags. You’ll soon be seeing them around town.
One of his biggest commitments, Patano said, has been to purchase organic coffee beans that are fairly traded, often at a higher cost. Whenever possible, his product is purchased from the farm it is grown on, giving the growers and harvesters a sustainable living wage. In another green move, he has decided to change from biodegradable bags to more reusable, metal coffee cans, made from 85 percent recycled steel. Patano hopes customers will “either refill them with coffee or use them to hold nails like my dad used to do,” he said.
Doma’s biggest investment toward sustainability has been the recent installation of a more energy-efficient coffee roaster that uses 80 percent less gas than their previous one. His new Kestrel S35 Loring Smart Roaster, only one of 13 in the world, recycles the heated air being used to roast the coffee.
“By using 80 percent less gas, we are producing 39,000 pounds less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year – the same as burning 2,000 gallons of gasoline,” said Jim Hottenroth, a fellow roaster who shares Patano’s passion for the environment.
There’s more. Patano purchased a TerraPass to offset his delivery vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions. He also supports renewable energy by participating in Avista’s Buck-A-Block project and supports and participates in bicycle-related programs and events throughout the area.
His plans for the future are green, too. Patano hopes to purchase a hybrid/alternative energy vehicle someday, and, although he is currently leasing, hopes to construct a green building. He has interested the University of Idaho in helping him design the green building of his dreams and should have plans by summer.
You can take many of the simpler steps Patano has taken toward lessening the impact of your business on the earth. Finding sustainable raw materials, using green supplies and mitigating the amount of energy you use are good steps to take.
Patano said Avista is a great resource when thinking about making changes that will affect energy use. The company completed an energy analysis on his business and offered a rebate towards his purchase of the more energy efficient roaster – much like it offers homeowners who install more energy efficient heat systems and water heaters.
“They are a tremendous resource,” Patano said. “I want others to know to contact them first when you are thinking of making changes – there are rebates and funds available.”
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