Recycling oyster shells can, perhaps surprisingly, play a role in cleaning polluted oceans, enrich gardens, increase future yields of the shellfish and even boost the construction industry.
North Carolina, on the USA’s eastern seaboard, has enthusiastically embraced the recycling of the shells and oyster-shell collection points have been established much in the same way as other countries and states might have bottle or paper banks.
The discarded shells are used to create mounds on the seabed which are then seeded with living oysters and act as a kind of shellfish high-rise, leading to rapid expansion of populations.
An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water daily, helping to naturally clean polluted waters.
Shells that don’t make it to the mounds are ground up and used for garden mulch or by the construction industry.