Oyster Shell Recycling Program Adds Dropoff Location in New Orleans

By Paul Ploumis

NEW ORLEANS — The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program is growing. Now New Orleans-area residents can support coastal restoration by bringing oyster shell from household dining to a new public drop-off site at the Green Project at 2831 Marais Street

Through CRCL’s recycling program, shells that are often otherwise sent to landfills are instead used to build reefs that help minimize coastal erosion. Since the OSRP’s inception in 2014, more than 10 million pounds of shell have been recycled to build more than 7,000 feet of oyster reef living shoreline. The Green Project accepts shell from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. To recycle shells, simply place them in the purple trash bins by the Marais side gate.

Historically, the Oyster Shell Recycling Program has been a partnership between New Orleans seafood restaurants and CRCL. Restaurants collect the shell in plastic bins provided by CRCL, and several times a week, a contractor transports the shell to CRCL’s curing site in Violet (St. Bernard Parish). Volunteers later scoop sun-cured shell into marine-grade mesh bags, which are then deployed into the water to create new habitat for oysters and other wildlife. These oyster reef living shorelines also help minimize erosion of soil, protecting our coast from land loss.

“After enjoying oysters at home with family and friends, you can help protect our coast simply by bringing shells to an OSRP public drop-off,” said Kellyn LaCour-Conant, the restoration programs director at CRCL. “What a tasty way to give back! We appreciate the Green Project, as well as our other public drop off partners at Glass Half Full, and all participating restaurants for growing this program with us. Our vision is that one day all oyster shell passing through local restaurants will be recycled back to the water to support a sustainable coast.”