News Release: Public Information Office, 850-983-5254
Oyster shell

Oyster shell recycling begins in Santa Rosa County

The Offer Your Shell for Restoration (OYSTER) recycling pilot program kicked off the new year in Santa Rosa County. Participating restaurants, including the Cutting Board in Milton and the Shrimp Basket (Milton and Navarre locations), have committed to recycling their shells. Members of the Conservation Corps of the Emerald Coast, part of Franklin's Promise, are making regular collections.  

The crew collected 200 pounds of shell on their first run. Shell is then “cured” (left to the elements to eliminate soft tissue and bacteria) for future use in local oyster reef restoration projects. This helps reduce the amount of shell taken to the landfill and ultimately benefits local oyster reef restoration projects by attracting baby oysters which provide a healthy habitat and food for red drum, speckled trout, gulf sturgeon and other organisms.

Reggie Miller of the Conservation Corps of the Emerald Coast said, “Collecting these oyster shells is investing in the future, with the dried shell used to construct oyster reefs, which promotes ecosystem health and marine life. It’s giving back to our planet while paying it forward to the next generation, and that makes it all worthwhile.”

This program is possible through RESTORE direct component funds available as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Santa Rosa County OYSTER recycling program is a partnership with Santa Rosa County's UF/IFAS FL Sea Grant Extension Program, environmental department, and grants and special programs.

The OYSTER recycling program was developed based on local projects in Escambia County, the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance in Okaloosa and Walton counties and the Alabama Coastal Foundation Oyster Shell recycling program in Baldwin and Mobile counties in Alabama.

For more information, contact Chris Verlinde, UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant, at or (850) 623-3868.

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