means its time for
recycling the shells
It’s time to pull out the iron grate and roast oysters over the fire
pit. That means it’s time to recycle those shells, as well.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Oyster Shell Recycling Program
provides 126 drop-off centers for shellfish lovers to chuck their
shucks. Also, 70 restaurants, in various counties, participate in the
program. While prominent on the coast, the program includes sites in
counties west of Interstate 95, such as Johnston, Wake, Orange, and
Recycling oyster shells helps reduce waste flow into landfills and
benefits the environment.
The Oyster Shell Recycling Program returns the oyster, clam, conch, and
mussel shells to coastal waters where they serve as essential habitat.
The program has collected more than 120,000 bushels of shells since it
began in the fall of 2003.
When oysters spawn, the larvae need a hard substrate on which to attach
and grow. Oysters will attach to many kinds of surfaces, but they
prefer shell material.
Oysters serve as food for humans, birds, and fish. They also clean
pollutants from the water. One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons
of water a day. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for fish and other
marine life which in return provide great hook-and-line fishing
A list of public oyster shell recycling sites and restaurants that
participate in the program can be found on the N.C. Division of Marine
Fisheries website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/shellfish/recycle1.htm.
For more information, contact N.C. Oyster Shell Recycling Coordinator
Sabrina Varnam at (252)726-7021 or (800) 682-2632 or