GULF SHORES, Ala. — With an anticipated 130,000 pounds of shells to be collected by the end of a productive pilot period, Alabama’s oyster shell recycling program is set to expand into Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants starting in January.
The successful program — the first multi-partner initiative of its kind in the state — is expected to save well over a half million oyster shells from landfill disposal and exchange for using them to grow Alabama’s habitat for future oysters.
“This is an excellent program because it creates a positive cycle,” said Mark Berte, Executive Director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, which designed the program and secured two years of funding from National Fisheries and Wildlife Federation officials.
“The more shells we collect from restaurants, the more opportunity we give new oysters to grow when we put them in the water, which means more oysters for restaurants to sell…and more to recycle,” Berte said.
The program involves weekly pickups from six seafood restaurants in Mobile along the Causeway who otherwise would toss their oyster shells as garbage or discard them somewhere out of the way on property.