Recycle Oyster Shells

CSB Joins Chesapeake Bay Foundation Recycling Oyster Shells
Posted on 11/20/2019

Oyster shell moon
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn
Bushels of shucked oyster shells pile up under a full moon after an Oyster Roast event at Chatham Vineyards. 

It’s oyster roast and oyster-shucking time on the Shore. The Eastern Shore Community Services Board’s Day Support Program, with initial support from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is recycling oyster shells and shucks to help rebuild oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay.

The bay’s oyster reefs have dramatically reduced in size since the 1980s. Oyster reefs play a vital role in habitat restoration, stabilizing shorelines and purification of the bay’s waters. Oyster reefs create a natural habitat that attracts crabs, small fish, shrimp, flounder and many more marine species. Every recycled half shell creates a new home for ten oysters.

Currently, the ESCSB Oyster Program collects shucked oyster half shells in recycling bins at several locations on the Shore including:

  •  ESCSB’s Behavioral Healthcare Center Parksley
  •  Dunne Substance Abuse and Counseling Center  Parksley
  •  ESCSB Administration Office on Lankford Highway in Tasley
  • ESCSB Developmental Services on Main Street in Exmore 
  • Fabric Outlet on Lankford Highway in Cape Charles
  • Island House in Wachapreague

Tips for dropping off oyster shells at these locations: please separate from trash; keep shells in a porous container to reduce odors; please bring the shells to the nearest recycling bin location; please do not put the shells back in the bay or the ocean.

The oyster restoration program is funded through the sale of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation DMV license plates. These proceeds help support our region’s most celebrated resources. So, remember, when you shuck, don’t chuck.

Find your nearest bin and help rebuild the bay’s oyster reefs. If you have any questions regarding the program, please call ESCSB Developmental Services at 757-442-3933.