The Top 10 Shell Recycling Alliance contributors of 2021 are:
- DC Fish Market Drop Site (Washington, DC): 2004 bushels
- King Street Oyster Bar (Washington, DC): 1140.70 bushels
- Ryleigh’s Oyster (Hunt Valley, MD): 922 bushels
- Boatyard Bar & Grill (Annapolis, MD): 901 bushels
- The Walrus Oyster & Ale House (Columbia, MD): 879 bushels
- Lexington Market (Baltimore, MD): 851 bushels
- The Salt Line (Washington, DC): 839 bushels
- Whiskey & Oyster (Alexandria, VA): 581 bushels
- Sailor Oyster Bar (Annapolis, MD): 581 bushels
- Old Ebbitt Grill (Washington, DC): 554 bushels
“2021 was a pandemic-recovery year for the Shell Recycling Alliance with 26,000 bushels of shell recycled,” said Tommy Price, program manager. “Still, this amount helped us surpass an important milestone of 250,000 bushels collected, enough to fill over 3.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools!”
Since the Shell Recycling Alliance’s launch in 2010, collection efforts have kept 9,030 tons out of area landfills, saved local businesses ~$700,000 in waste collection fees, and provided enough substrate to support the planting of 1.29 billion spat-on-shell in local waters. The program is the nation’s largest with nearly 200 member businesses and over 70 public shell dropsites in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
“The Boatyard Bar & Grill sells a huge amount of oysters. It makes so much sense to recycle the oysters to the ORP to be used for baby oyster spat on shell planting into the Bay” said Dick Franyo, Owner Boatyard Bar & Grill Annapolis. “We recycle everything — even our food scraps for fertilizer. The healthier the Bay’s oyster population is, the healthier the Bay. The healthier the Bay, the better our business is. It’s a “win win” and a “no brainer” for both. We have always been proud to be a partner with the ORP.”
Oysters play a vital role in improving Bay health by filtering excess nutrients from the water, and their reefs create habitat for a multitude of marine life. Their benefits extend beyond helping the environment as their harvest provides jobs for many watermen and related businesses. And, of course, they are delicous and nutritious to eat!
Oyster shell is an essential building block for a healthy oyster population. In fact, every half shell can become “home” up to 10 spat (baby oysters). After collection, shell is aged outdoors for one year, washed, and then set with spat (baby oysters) at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, MD. ORP works with more restoration partners to plant the spat-on-shell onto specially selected reefs throughout the Chesapeake Bay. To date, ORP has planted 9 billion oysters on more than 3,000 acres of oyster habitat in Maryland. Learn more about Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration efforts here.