Recycling Oysters for Reefs

Recycling Oyster Shells for Reefs in Ocean NC

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is asking your help to give oysters a second chance by recycling your oyster shells. Once collected, the federation works with partners to return the recycled oyster shells to the water where they provide new habitat for fish and shellfish. Whether from an oyster roast, restaurant, or back yard cookout, every shell collected can help protect and restore our coast.

The federation oversees several shell recycling stations across the coast to help make the process easy.

Oyster shell is a valuable resource in North Carolina and it can cost up to $3.00 per bushel when purchased for coastal restoration. It is also illegal to dump the shells in North Carolina landfills making the recycling option that much more appealing. From 2003 to 2018, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries operated a state-funded oyster shell recycling program that provided 6-15% of the shell needed for restoration projects. The state-run oyster shell recycling program ended in 2018 due to budget cuts and staff reductions.

The federation’s recycling program is filling the gap by providing a way for people and businesses to support a healthy coastal environment and keep shells out of the trash.

“The Town of Duck is happy to provide an oyster shell recycling collection site at the Town Park, making it more convenient for our restaurants, residents, and visitors to contribute to this program that restores habitat for the North Carolina coast,” said Christian Legner, Public Information & Events Director for the town. The Town of Duck is just one of many shell recycling drop off points along the coast.

For a complete list of coastwide recycling sites visit our website here.

For more information about the Recycling for Reefs program or to volunteer please contact Leslie Vegas at 252-473-1607.

By Leslie Vegas