The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) kicked off the state’s first formal oyster shell recycling program by collecting over 19,000 pounds of shell from New Orleans area restaurants last weekend.  A member of the Restore America's Estuaries' (RAE) alliance, CRCL hosted a launch event to celebrate the kick-off of this program on June 24 at the Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant.
The goal of the CRCL Oyster Shell Recycling Program is to recycle used oyster shell from participating New Orleans restaurants and use that shell to restore oyster reefs and shoreline habitat across coastal Louisiana. Oneoyster recycling program crcl resized year ago, Shell donated $1 million to CRCL to help get this program up and running.  Since that time, CRCL has been working diligently to bring together the necessary partners needed to implement this program.  The kick-off event brought together project partners including Shell, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, participating restaurants, and media to celebrate the program’s success. 
Shell recycling is a simple process, and thanks to the generous donation from Shell, this program is being offered free to restaurants.   Participating restaurants agree to separate their shell from the rest of their garbage. This shell is then collected and stockpiled for use in a variety of future reef restoration projects.  By returning shell to the water, a hard surface is provided that will allow free-floating larval oysters to settle on and grow into mature oysters.
Supporting this program is simple!  Next time you are in New Orleans and craving oysters, order a dozen raw or chargrilled from the following restaurants, and shells from your order will be recycled and used for coastal restoration.
  • Acme Oyster House (New Orleans and Metairie Locations)
  • The Bourbon House
  • Redfish Grill
  • Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
  • Lüke
  • Peche Seafood Grill
“Plain and simple, our family loves oysters! We are blessed to have a busy Oyster Bar at Bourbon House and it’s a shame to see mineral rich shells go into the trash. I was raised with the mantra ‘we need to leave it better than we found it.’ Oyster shells are the best product to put back in the water to continue the cycle. I’m grateful to have Shell and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana step up and make this program possible,” said Dickie Brennan.
“The main reason we want to be involved in recycling oyster shells is because we’re such a large user of the resource,” said Paul Rotner, Chief Operating Officer of Acme Oyster House. “It’s in our best interest. We need the shells in order to enrich the life span of our current oyster beds and to build new reefs. Oysters are a natural water filter; oyster reefs provide wildlife habitat, and coastal protection. We are extremely proud to be a partnering with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Oyster Shell Recycling Program.”
CRCL contracted with the Phoenix Recycling of New Orleans, to facilitate shell collection and transport to a holding facility. Phoenix Recycling was the first company to bring recycling back to the city following Hurricane Katrina.  Their history of providing excellent service, their commitment to New Orleans, and strong conservation ethic made them an ideal partner to ensure shell collection would be a success.local impact oyster shell recycling crcl resized   
CRCL is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to facilitate storage and placement of shell along the coast.  Once shell is collected, it will be stored at their property in Buras, and a portion of the shell will be used by LDWF to support their ongoing oyster reef restoration efforts. 
The remaining shell will be used by CRCL who will recruit volunteers to help bag the shell for use in a variety reef restoration and living shoreline projects.  
Louisiana currently experiences a shell deficit – more shell is removed from Louisiana’s coast than is returned to help maintain oyster reefs.  To make up for the deficit, the LDWF uses crushed concrete and limestone to provide a hard substrate for oyster reefs.  The CRCL Oyster Shell Recycling Program will return at least 1,500 tons of shell to Louisiana’s coast each year. 
“Our coast is our future,” said CRCL Executive Director, Kimberly Davis Reyher “and this is just the sort of partnership approach we need to restore our coast.  We’re very grateful to Shell, LDWF, Phoenix Recycling and all the participating restaurants – and all those eating oysters in New Orleans!”
For more information about this program, contact CRCL Restoration Director, Hilary Collis at