Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana Resumes Oyster Shell Recycling Program
NEW ORLEANS — After being shut down since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program has resumed shell collection at its partner restaurants in New Orleans. The program kicked off again this week, initially with seven restaurants, after what was a banner year for oyster shell recycling in Louisiana despite the extenuating circumstances.
“We are grateful to our restaurant partners, volunteers and others who have supported our Oyster Shell Recycling Program — even to people who support coastal restoration in Louisiana by simply slurping down some oysters,” said James Karst, director of communications and marketing at the coalition. “This program is a win-win-win for our state. It supports the oyster industry and our restaurants, both of which have been hit hard by the pandemic, by encouraging people to enjoy one of the signature items on Louisiana menus. It protects our coast through the construction of oyster reefs, and therefore it protects our communities and our jobs. It diverts a plentiful resource from landfills. And it creates habitat for new oysters and other wildlife.”
Through the program, bins provided by CRCL are used to collect shell at restaurants after oysters have been consumed. The bins are emptied three times a week by a contractor for the program, and the shell is delivered to CRCL’s new shell curing/volunteering site in St. Bernard Parish. Eventually, volunteers will help package the shell into marine-grade mesh bags before they are deployed into the water to create oyster reefs, also known as living shorelines. The reefs act as wave breaks that help prevent soil from eroding and even have the ability to adapt for climate change, growing to adjust to rising sea levels.