Program Expands to Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership’s (ORP) shell recycling program has grown by 43 restaurants, one oyster farm and two public drop sites over the past seven months, and has officially expanded to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The new members have helped ORP reclaim significantly more shell, putting the organization on track for another record collection year while increasing the capacity for Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration projects.
“Over the past few years, business owners and customers have really come to understand the important role shell recycling plays in creating water-filtering oyster reefs,” said the program’s operations manager, Tommy Price. “We are thrilled to see more seafood establishments express interest and more Bay-area residents wholeheartedly supporting this effort.”
The program, the Shell Recycling Alliance, is the largest shell recycling network in the nation with nearly 350 member seafood businesses and 70 public drop sites throughout Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and the newly-added Pittsburgh, Pa.
Since the program launched in 2010, ORP has collected 190,000 bushels (6,650 tons) of shell, to support the planting of up to 950 million oysters in Chesapeake Bay waters.
In Maryland, the new Shell Recycling Alliance members by county are:
Angie’s Seafood, Baltimore
Bird River Inn, Baltimore
Crazy Tuna Bar & Grille, Middle River
Fells Point Tavern, Baltimore
Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, Halethorpe
Michael’s Café, Middle River
The Seahorse Inn, Dundalk
Stoney Creek Inn, Baltimore
510 Johnny’s, Bel Air
Black Eyed Suzie’s, Bel Air
Black Forest Taphouse, Fallston
Fallston Seafood Restaurant, Fallston
Havre De Grace Drop site
Looney’s Pub, Bel Air
Main Street Tower, Bel Air
Naughty Dogs Restaurant Pub & Grill, Bel Air
One Eleven Main, Bel Air
Steelefish Grille, Bel Air
The Deck Crab House & Bar, Edgewood
TopFlight Seafood, Aberdeen
Prince George’s County: Succotash, Oxon Hill
Queen Anne’s County: Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House, Stevensville
St. Mary’s: Double ‘T’ Oyster Ranch, Tall Timbers
Virginia now includes Whiskey & Oyster in Alexandria, and The Local Oyster Ballston in Arlington.
In Pittsburgh, after soft-launching in with three restaurants last November, the city now has six participating restaurants. The current members, Eleven, Merchant Oyster Co., Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, Off The Hook, Spirits & Tales at the Oaklander Hotel and St. Clair Country Club have recycled 559 bushels, or 19 tons, of oyster shell over the past seven months.
“Now that the Alliance has really taken hold in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region, we’re seeking to engage other major metropolitan areas in recycling their oyster shell,” said ORP Executive Director Stephan Abel. “Pittsburgh has seen increased support for sustainable food options and eco-friendly practices, making it a natural fit for the program’s expansion.”
Natural oyster shell is vital to a healthy oyster population because it is the preferred material for oyster larvae to attach and grow. Once collected, the oyster shell is aged outdoors, washed and set with spat by the University of Maryland Horn Point Oyster Hatchery in Cambridge, Maryland, and finally, planted on strategically chosen oyster reef sites where it can continue to grow and provide water quality benefits.
ORP is always seeking new members to join the Shell Recycling Alliance, which offers free, regular pickups to qualifying seafood businesses throughout the Bay region. Businesses and individuals who recycle shell in Maryland are eligible for a state tax credit of up to $1,500 annually. Learn more about this service at shellrecycling.org.