Oyster Shell Recycling Program

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Did you know we use oyster shells to restore our shorelines?
The Delaware River and Bay need you to “give a shuck” and help recycle oyster shells!


Aluminum cans, old newspapers, and plastic bottles are examples of things we’re all accustomed to recycling. It’s something most of us do every day. Did you know that oyster shells are recyclable too? There’s a shell shortage in the Delaware Bay, while used oyster and clam shells pile up in local restaurants and get disposed of in our landfills.

While we harvest millions of oysters each year, only a fraction of shells get returned to the water. Recycled oyster shells are returned to the Delaware Bay, and help support the development of oyster reefs. Oyster reefs provide important ecosystem services, such as water filtration, habitat creation, and erosion control. Disposing of harvested oyster shells hurts our bay, our shorelines, and ultimately each of us. In partnership with local restaurants and community organizations, we are changing that. With your help, we are returning oyster shells to the Bay so new oysters can grow, habitats get created, and shorelines are protected. Click the tabs above to learn more!

To learn more about the science behind restoration, check out our oyster page!

Shell Recycling Volunteers 2023

Check out our Flickr photo album for more great photos!


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