MARQUETTE - When Jordan and Jennifer Yeatts decided to have a summer barbeque in honor of their recent marriage, they chose a theme: "Reducing consumption and encouraging reuse."
"Jen and I discussed all the ways to make the party as Earth friendly as possible," Yeatts said. "I'm totally committed to reducing my environmental impact as much as possible."
While it may seem like a laborious and time-consuming endeavor to throw an eco-friendly party, the couple found some simple ways to host their guests in a "green" and comfortable way.
Bill Brazier, general manager of the Marquette Food-Co-op, starts his grill with lump charcoal — made out of 100 percent charcoal without coal, fillers or other chemicals. According to Brazier the type of charcoal is more eco-friendly than generic charcoal or propane gas. (Journal Photo by Miriam Moeller)
Jennifer and Jordan Yeatts of Marquette celebrate their marriage at their eco-friendly potluck party in June. (Jennifer Yeatts photo)
For instance, the Yeatts invited their guests via e-mail to save paper, and they asked their guests to bring their own dinnerware, cups and a dish to share. For those who forgot their own dishes, the couple provided second-hand canning jars for beer mugs and other mix-and-match dishes.
"We bought old canning jars from thrift stores because then post-party they can be used for canning," Yeatts said.
After dinner, the Yeatts provided a water hose to clean the dishes as well as a compost bin for leftover food and recycling baskets for other waste.
"It ended up being not much waste at all," Yeatts said.
The cake and beverages provided for their guests were purchased locally to reduce the couple's carbon footprint, Yeatts said.
Although some of the partiers brought disposable dishes, overall the theme of reuse was welcomed.
"We didn't get any negative feedback," Yeatts said. "People appreciated it."
The Yeatts are not the only ones who pay attention to the environment when throwing a party.
Bill Brazier, general manager of the Marquette Food-Co-op, has hosted barbeques in his backyard using reusable dishes and "greener" charcoal.
"It's called lump charcoal, and it's wood that's been charred," he said. "It is cleaner and burns faster."
Lump charcoal, which is available in some local stores, is made from waste wood, Brazier said. Compared to regular briquets, lump charcoal is 100 percent charcoal without coal, fillers or other chemicals, he said.
While it's not only better for the environment, it is also healthier to grill with, quicker to light up and one does not need lighter fluid to get the charcoal going.
"I haven't bought lighter fluid and briquets in 10 years," Brazier said, adding that he now uses newspaper and a charcoal chimney to start a fire.
Besides grilling more green, Brazier also likes to buy local products to reduce his carbon footprint.
"The more local foods you buy, the less you contribute to all the truck miles," he said. "That's a green thing because it cuts down on the truck miles and pollution, and you're supporting local farmers."
As far as celebrating Fourth of July and other holidays, Brazier and Yeatts said watching the city's fireworks instead of lighting their own can save money and is more eco-friendly. Also, using natural decorations, gifts and celebrating close to home can have less of an impact on the environment.