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Recycling Oyster Shells: Why and How


Did you know oyster shells are recyclable? More importantly, did you know that oyster shells need to be recycled?

In short, oyster larvae are somewhat picky about where they want to settle and prefer oyster shells over anything else. With the natural oyster population dwindling, there are fewer shells available for larvae to settle on. By strategically putting oyster shells back into the rivers and the bay, we’re creating protected places for natural oysters to rebuild their population and clean the waters of the Chesapeake Bay as a result.

The Chesapeake Oyster Alliance has a list of drop sites here. You can also check with Friends of the Rappahannock and the VCU Rice Rivers Center. If nothing else, we will take back your old shell as we use old shell in our own restoration projects in the Rappahannock River.

Since we only come around once a month, shell can be tricky to store. We recommend cleaning the shell of any oyster bits and toppings and putting them outside away from the house. If you are in a condo or apartment, the freezer is a good spot. The concern being anything left on the shell won't smell great after a while. If you actually got the shells perfectly clean, they can sit around anywhere just like a seashell.

So be sure to recycle your oyster shells! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any more questions about recycling.


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