Oyster Recycling and Restoration Program

Why Should I Recycle My Oyster Shells? 

Although South Carolina’s commercial shellfish harvest has remained stable over the past three decades, the closing of oyster canneries and most shucking houses during this period has resulted in a shortage of shucked oyster shell needed to cultivate and restore oyster beds. The increasing popularity of backyard oyster roasts and by-the-bushel retail sales have contributed to this shortage in that, contrary to the shucking houses and canneries, shells remaining from individual oyster roasts are not usually returned to the estuary to provide a suitable surface to attract juvenile oysters. More often than not, the shell ends up in driveways and landfills. 

These factors have contributed to the critical shortage of oyster shell used for planting purposes and sustaining oyster habitat. The state has been forced to purchase the majority of its oyster shell from out-of-state processors to supplement our stocks of shell for planting. In order for SCDNR to properly manage the state’s shellfish resources and maintain these critical habitats, we must continue to maximize our ef-forts to recycle our oyster shells. Recycling your shells will help restore, preserve, and enhance the state’s inshore marine habitat. Estuarine Filters: Adult oysters filter up to 2.5 gallons of water per hour or up to 50 gallons per day. Erosion Control: Oyster reefs are natural breakwaters that absorb wave energy and protect marsh shorelines from erosion. 

The BSWCD Board meets monthly, the 4th Tuesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. Most meetings are held at Old Santee Canal Park. If you are interest-ed in attending a meeting, call our of-fice a week prior to the meeting for confirmation on location. 

We are proud to work for you! 

Recycling Do’s and Don’ts 

DO separate shell from trash. Shell mixed with tr ash is not suitable for r ecycling. Pr ovide separ ate container s for shell and trash. 

 DO dump shells from bags or containers and leave only shells in the bins. 

 DO bring your shell to the nearest shell recycling center 

DON’T put live oyster s in South Car olina water s. If the oyster s you pur chased wer e har vested outside South Car olina, it is illegal to place them in SC waters. Placing imported oysters in our waters can create environmental problems and may harm local oysters or other animals. 

DON’T put freshly shucked oysters shell in SC waters. 

Oyster Recycling Bins in Berkeley County: 

Moncks Corner Bin at Gilligan’s At the Dock: Take US-17 ALT N from Moncks Corner for 2.3 mi. and sign for Gilligans will be on right. Follow road and Recycling Trailer will be in parking lot. 

Goose Creek Bin at Gilligan’s Restaurant Address 219 St. James Ave. Goose Creek, SC. The recycling bin is a DNR trailer in the back corner of the parking lot.

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