Oyster Shell Recycling Program Update!
June 27, 201720,000 lbs equals 10 tons! That is how many oyster shells our restaurants have collected since February!
Earlier this year, the Chiles Restaurant Group began participating in a Gulf Coast Oyster Recycle & Restoration Project (GCORR) aimed at collecting and reusing cast off oyster and clam shells to help restore the environment.
The process includes the collection, cleaning, and transportation of used clam and oyster shells from its three seafood restaurants to the local Manatee County Preserve to aid in restoration of oyster/clam habitat. The Gulf Coast Oyster Recycle & Restoration Project specifically involves oyster restoration, but it’s execution will positively impact many other aspects of daily lives by means of providing a hatchery for new oysters, reducing shoreline erosion, improving water quality, and revitalizing the oyster and other marine habitat to increase the local food supply. One oyster can filter 9.6 gallons of salt or estuarine water in one day, creating cleaner environments for swimming and recreational uses.
To date, since February of this year, the Chiles Group restaurants have collected 20,000 lbs or 10 tons of shell to be placed in the preserves that will serve as clutch for oyster growth. According to Melissa Nell, county…..
"We'll reduce our footprint in landfills and provide the opportunity to educate our community, promote growth of this seafood commodity and most importantly support the increase in our local water quality," Baugh said. "Not only will this eventually evolve into the potential to harvest real local oysters and clams but will also provide jobs and promote additional Aquaculture opportunities while eliminating tons of shell waste from landfills."
According to Melissa Nell, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Division Manager, "All spring and summer long, volunteers at Robinson and Perico Preserves have worked to create oyster mats and bags from the 20,000 lbs of shell collected from the Chiles Group restaurants. These oyster mats will provide new hard bottom for shellfish to attach to and grow, allowing for oysters to flourish in our local waters."
The Gulf Coast Oyster Recycle & Restoration Project is only the most recent of sustainable initiatives that the Chiles Restaurant Group has been a leader. In addition, they have made made significant strides in its efforts to be “plastic-free” by facilitating the County's implementation of Single Stream Recycling, and a dramatic decrease in the use of plastic straws, foam containers, saltine cracker wrappers and other non-biodegradable products normally associated with Food Service operations. Next steps include the introduction of a complete line of eco-friendly "to go" containers and reusable packing crates for produce and seafood.