The Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores is the latest restaurant to join the state's innovative Oyster Shell Recycling program. Last October, the program kicked off at the Original Oyster House location on the Causeway, and already more than 650,000 oyster shells have been collected. These shells will be returned to the most productive oyster reefs and contribute to the life cycle of new oysters -- so we can continue to enjoy them for years to come.
Oysters grow their shells over a couple of years, but they need something to latch onto initially; and that's where the recycled oyster shells are invaluable. Fewer oyster shells will be going into the trash, and landfills; and a lot more will be going back into building up our important oyster reefs. And it's a lot of oysters! Mark Berte, Executive Director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, says the program will recycle about 7 million (!) oyster shells this year alone, adding seven acres of oyster reef.
The program has been popular with both the participating restaurants and their customers. The recycling program expects to add about 15 more restaurants by summer, nearly doubling the total to 31. Considering where we were just a few short months ago, with ZERO recycling of oyster shells, this is a great start that's exceeding all expectations.
It was great to see my great Original Oyster House friends today, and share in this moment with them.