Talbot and Caroline Counties Open Shell Recycling Centers

ORP, MES Announce New Public Drop-Off Locations in Talbot and Caroline Counties to Recycle Used Oyster Shells

Shells Will Provide Homes for New Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay

ANNAPOLIS, Md. _ The Oyster Recovery Partnership and the Maryland Environmental Service today announced the opening of public oyster shell recycling facilities in Talbot and Caroline counties. With these additional counties offering shell drop-off sites, Maryland citizens can now recycle oyster shells in eight counties.
“One of our goals is to make it convenient for citizens throughout Maryland to recycle shells and have a personal impact on the restoration of Chesapeake Bay oysters,” said Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. “With new drop-off sites in Talbot and Caroline facilities, tens of thousands more citizens can participate in ORP’s shell recycling program.”
Scientists need recycled shells to raise hatchery oysters to plant on oyster reefs throughout the bay. The shells provide the best material for baby oysters to attach to as they grow. Maryland hatcheries have developed techniques to raise more oysters, but they need additional shell to keep up with a growing number of hatchery-produced oysters. Each recycled shell can provide homes for 10 new oysters.
In 2013, the University of Maryland Horn Point Lab Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, Md., raised and planted 1.2 billion baby oysters, the first time any hatchery in the nation produced more than one billion Eastern oyster spat in a single season.
“We are excited about the hatchery work and the potential for continued growth,” Abel said. “It also demonstrates why recycling shell is so vital.”
The facilities in Talbot and Caroline County opened through a partnership between ORP and Maryland Environmental Service’s Midshore Regional Landfill.
Citizens can drop-off shell at the following locations: 

Midshore I Homeowner Drop Off /Transfer Station
7341 Barkers Landing Rd
Easton Md. 21601
Monday through Friday: 8 a.m.-noon
Saturday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Holly Road Homeowner Drop Off
11930 Holly Rd
Ridgely, Md. 21660
Monday, Thursday, Saturday:  7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m.-6p.m.

“Oyster shell recycling is a great program, and everyone who enjoys oysters can help,” said Eric Frase, Landfill Operations Manager at the Midshore II Regional Landfill in Ridgely, Md. “Maryland Environmental Service hopes these new shell drop-off sites help more people get involved in rebuilding the Bay’s oyster population.”
These recycling locations also make it easier for restaurants and residents to take advantage of Maryland’s shell recycling tax incentives. Beginning in 2013, Maryland residents and restaurants have been able to receive a one dollar tax credit per bushel of recycled oyster shells, up to$750 a year.
Once individuals or restaurants drop off their shell, they can register the donation online at https://oysterrecovery.org/sra_forms/SRA_Reg.html  to get their tax credit. ORP will collect the shell and transport it to the Horn Point lab.
ORP’s Shell Recycling Alliance has recycled 1,200 tons of shell since 2009. However, this provides only 10 percent of Maryland’s annual shell needs for oyster restoration efforts currently underway.
Oysters are essential to Maryland’s environment, economy and culture. They filter Bay water and provide habitat for blue crabs, striped bass and other aquatic life. They are financially important to thousands of restaurants, caterers and other businesses. And a healthy oyster population is vital to the overall allure of the Bay and to those who live, work and play in the region.

Click here for a complete list of public oyster shell recycling facilities.
Click here for more on the shell recycling tax credit program.