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Recycling Oyster Shells

oyster shell recyclingInstead of selling seashells by the seashore...recycle 'em!  Many coastal communities have seashell recycling programs, oyster shell recycling in particular.  

Young oysters must attach themselves to a hard substance - often another oyster shell. If  the young oyster doesn't find a suitable substance, the the oyster will die.  Unfortunately, in areas where oysters are harvested frequently, there are oyster shortages so oysters are dying out.  

Shucked oysters, even large quantities from restaurants, are almost always just thrown in the trash. Because of this, many areas have created oyster shell recycling programs to reclaim oyster shells.    These shells are then used in reef and habitat restoration as well as other conservation projects.   

Why recycle oyster shells?  Oysters aren't just a tasty delicacy.  Oysters are really important to our ecosystem.  They provide water filtration - an adult oyster can filter more than 2 gallons of water per hour!!  They do this by feeding on plankton and waterborne detritus.  The larger the oyster population, the cleaner the water!  Plus, their reefs provide habitats for other sea life and help control eroding shorelines.   

Here are some oyster shell recycling programs in the US:

Florida

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

New York - Stony Brook

North Carolina

South Carolina

Texas - Galveston Bay

Texas - Corpus Christi, TX

Virginia