Shuck, eat, reuse: Oyster shell recycling program for Barnegat Bay begins

     (Photo courtesy of the American Littoral Society)

    (Photo courtesy of the American Littoral Society)

    There’s now another Barnegat Bay ally: your oyster shells. 

    The American Littoral Society and partners unveiled a pilot oyster shell recycling program at Old Causeway Steak and Oyster House in Manahawkin yesterday. 

    To kick it off, supporters gathered at the restaurant to enjoy oysters. The shells were then packaged in orange bins — the first step in the recycling process. See photos from the event here

    This program seeks to demonstrate how restaurants can turn oyster shells normally thrown out as waste into a recyclable resource used for restoring and enhancing fisheries through restoration of lost oyster reefs in Barnegat Bay, according to Captain Alek Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Director of the American Littoral Society.

    “Shell recycling is a great program to engage and educate the seasonal and permanent residents of the bay community while also providing materials needed to improve the health of the bay. While this is launch of a pilot program, we hope to grow the program in the future,” he said. 

    The oysters will first stop at Stockton University before entering the Barnegat Bay. 

    “The shell recycling pilot project would not have been possible without the support of the restaurants including the Old Causeway Steak and Oyster and Mud City Crab House and volunteers that handle pick-up and delivery of the recycled shell to the Stockton University Field Station,” said Helen Henderson, Atlantic Coast Program Manager for the Littoral Society. 

    Mel Magaziner, co-owner of Old Causeway Steak and Oyster and Mud City Crab House, said the program is all about giving back to the Barnegat Bay.  

    “The Barnegat Bay defines who we are as business owners and community members,” she said. “Our lives, both at play and work, depend on the health of Barnegat Bay. It was just natural that we begin to find ways to give back and connect through a program like this.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.