South Carolina Offers Oyster Shell, Christmas Tree Recycling

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources is calling for citizens to recycle used oyster shells and discarded Christmas trees through programs aimed at boosting estuary health and promoting growth of marine life.

The state is continuing to expand its oyster recycling and restoration program, where South Carolinians and restaurants can drop off used oyster shells, especially after events such as oyster bakes and holiday parties, The Post and Courier reported. The recycled shells are reintroduced to local waters where they provide a surface for new oysters to grow, natural resources officials cited. Live oysters then filter water, protect against erosion and attract fish and other sea creatures to their reefs.

The state's Coastal Conservation Association and Natural Resources Department collectively donated more than $100,000 in equipment to pick up and transport the shells, the newspaper said. This year, more than 30 locations are available for drop off.

The Natural Resources Department is also accepting discarded Christmas trees to support fish attractors it maintains on lakes Marion and Moultrie. Trees can be dropped off at the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau starting Friday, the department said.