The Shell Recycling Alliance: A Partnership that Makes Waves  


This World Recycling Day, let’s celebrate the impactful strides we’ve made in Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration, thanks to the invaluable support from our Shell Recycling Alliance (SRA) restaurant partners. 

Why Shell Recycling Matters  

Every shell recycled is a step towards cleaner water and a healthier bay: 

  • Oysters filter the bay’s water, improving clarity and quality. 
  • Recycled shells become homes for new oysters, helping to build up reef communities. 
  • Healthy reefs support diverse marine life, from fish to crabs, enhancing the entire ecosystem. 

Old Ebbitt Grill was the first to join forces with ORP, contributing shells from the 2009 Oyster Riot and piloting the successful project we now know as the SRA. Their ongoing commitment has helped us make significant advances towards restoring the Chesapeake’s native oyster. <add Oyster Riot 2009 logo adjacent to this paragraph> 

Impact by the Numbers 

  • The SRA is now the nation’s largest shell recycling effort with over 200 participating restaurants in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Pittsburgh, PA.  
  • The program annually recycles an average of 30,000 bushels of shells and has collected 310,000 bushels total, enough to support the planting of 1.56 billion juvenile oysters in local waters 
  • Recycling shells helps businesses save on waste disposal costs and reduces environmental impact. 

Old Ebbitt Grill alone has made substantial contributions, including: 

  • 18,814 Bushels of Shells Recycled – That’s enough to support the planting of over 88 million baby oysters! 
  • 773 Collection Visits and Counting – A testament to their consistent commitment. 
  • Roughly 50 bushels of shells collected per week, showcasing the scale of their dedication – and the community’s appetite for great seafood! 

Let’s applaud Old Ebbitt Grill for their role in preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Chesapeake Bay. This November, consider attending their Oyster Riot, a celebration of the pairing of oysters and wines. The Saturday “Matinee” donates a portion of proceeds directly to ORP to support the SRA. Thanks also to every business that has been a part of this impactful shell recycling journey. 

Join the Movement 🦪 ♻️ 

You can help! By eating oysters at participating SRA restaurants, you’re contributing to ORP’s mission to restore the Chesapeake’s native oyster. Your appetite for great seafood fuels our ongoing efforts and inspires a brighter, cleaner future. Here’s to many more years of successful shell recycling and oyster restoration!