You may know that hundreds of mid-Atlantic restaurants participate in the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s (ORP) shell-recycling program, saving their used shells to become habitat for new baby oysters.
Now, ORP announces 43 more restaurants have joined the Shell Recycling Alliance program, and six of them are all the way in Pittsburgh!
ORP is also now partnering with a new oyster farm and has added two new public drop-off sites. The organization says it’s on track for another record year of shell collecting.
At least 350 restaurants are now members of the Alliance, and there are a total of 70 public drop-off spots.
“Over the past few years, business owners and customers have really come to understand the important role shell recycling plays in creating water-filtering oyster reefs,” said the program’s operations manager, Tommy Price. “We are thrilled to see more seafood establishments express interest and more Bay-area residents wholeheartedly supporting this effort.”
Since the program launched in 2010, ORP has collected 190,000 bushels (6,650 tons) of shell, to support the planting of up to 950 million oysters in Chesapeake Bay waters.
If you’d like to support the businesses who just jumped on board the shell-recycling train, here is ORP’s list of newest Shell Recycling Alliance members by county:
Angie’s Seafood, Baltimore
Bird River Inn, Baltimore
Crazy Tuna Bar & Grille, Middle River
Fells Point Tavern, Baltimore
Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House, Halethorpe
Michael’s Café, Middle River
The Seahorse Inn, Dundalk
Stoney Creek Inn, Baltimore
510 Johnny’s, Bel Air
Black Eyed Suzie’s, Bel Air
Black Forest Taphouse, Fallston
Fallston Seafood Restaurant, Fallston
Havre De Grace Drop site
Looney’s Pub, Bel Air
Main Street Tower, Bel Air
Naughty Dogs Restaurant Pub & Grill, Bel Air
One Eleven Main, Bel Air
Steelefish Grille, Bel Air
The Deck Crab House & Bar, Edgewood
TopFlight Seafood, Aberdeen
Prince George’s County: Succotash, Oxon Hill
Queen Anne’s County: Kentmorr Restaurant & Crab House, Stevensville
St. Mary’s: Double ‘T’ Oyster Ranch, Tall Timbers
Virginia now includes Whiskey & Oyster in Alexandria, and The Local Oyster Ballston in Arlington.
In Pittsburgh, after soft-launching in with three restaurants last November, the city now has six participating restaurants. The current members, Eleven, Merchant Oyster Co., Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, Off The Hook, Spirits & Tales at the Oaklander Hotel and St. Clair Country Club have recycled 559 bushels, or 19 tons, of oyster shell over the past seven months.
ORP hopes that the expansion to Pittsburgh is just the first of many areas further afield from the Bay to adopt the practice of shell-recycling.
“Now that the Alliance has really taken hold in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region, we’re seeking to engage other major metropolitan areas in recycling their oyster shell,” said ORP Executive Director Stephan Abel. “Pittsburgh has seen increased support for sustainable food options and eco-friendly practices, making it a natural fit for the program’s expansion.”
Recycled oyster shells are dried outdoors, washed, and used as new homes for baby oysters, or spat. Those babies are fostered, then planted at protected oyster reefs where they can help restore the oyster population and filter the water.
Seafood restaurants and businesses who join the Shell Recycling Alliance in Maryland can get a state tax credit up to $1,500 annually, and pickups are free. To learn more, and to see the full list of participating restaurants in your area, click here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano