Shell Recycling

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Welcome to the Shell Recycling Alliance, where “no shell is left behind.”

Oyster shell is the best, most natural material used to rebuild oyster reefs but it’s also in in very short supply. To save this ecologically important byproduct, ORP created the Shell Recycling Alliance in 2010 to reclaim shell, free of charge, from restaurants and other seafood businesses. Shell that otherwise would be dumped in landfills is now recycled, cleaned, treated with baby oysters and put back into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

In fact, ORP is now the nation’s largest shell recycling network, annually collecting 33,000 bushels of shell from 340 restaurants and 60 public drop sites in the mid-Atlantic region. Since the Alliance’s launch, ORP has reclaimed 145,000 bushels of shell, which equates to 5,100 tons kept out of area landfills, approximately $300,000 saved by local businesses in waste collection fees, and enough substrate to support the planting of 725 million oysters in local waters.

Learn how your restaurant can participate in this free service

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Follow that shell through the recycling & oyster restoration process

The State of Maryland offers tax credits for businesses that recycle oyster shell. Learn more here.

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What our members say:

“I appreciate the pickup of shells. We depend on the Chesapeake Bay for a lot of oysters so it’s good to restock the Bay for the future, and it’s also nice to not have to dump used shell in the landfill.” – Sunny White, owner of Captain White Seafood City

“The Oyster Recovery Partnership is a true asset to the Chesapeake Bay and all of those who rely on it. Our families, friends and customers live, work, and play on the Bay, so participating in the program is very important to us. We are committed to recycling as many shells as possible.”
– Tony Piera, owner of Mike’s Crab House

“We’re so proud of our partnership with ORP. It brings us great joy to reclaim oyster shell from our client restaurants to support Chesapeake Bay restoration projects. By spreading the word of ORP’s work and supporting their efforts, we feel like we have a hand in a greater cause.”
– Jon Pearlman, vice president of Congressional Seafood Co.