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Once you shuck ’em, don’t just chuck ’em! Local restaurants help recycle tons of oyster shells

NEW ORLEANS-- Once you shuck 'em, don't just chuck 'em!  Did you know that we all can do our part to help save the Louisiana coast?  Simply, by eating oysters.

News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez explains how local restaurants have joined in on saving the coast with an oyster recycling program.

After our delicious Louisiana oysters are shucked and eaten, did you ever think that the shells could be useful?

"Our oyster collection recycling program collects shells from 13 New Orleans area restaurants, and we use those shells for coastal restoration projects to help protect the coast line.  The land loss here in Louisiana is something we all should be concerned about.  We at the Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana like to think of this program as a delicious way to restore the coast," Deborah Visco Abieou said.

The Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana or CRCL started their oyster shell recycling program back in 2015.  Since then, they've collected over 5-million pounds of shells. Thirteen New Orleans restaurants are participating, and Bourbon House is one of them.  So far, Bourbon House has collected 400 tons of oyster shells.

"It was a no-brainer for us to jump in on this.  As we shuck, we dump the shells specifically into the different recycling bins,"  Stephen Schnell, general manager at Bourbon House, said.

(Shaq the oyster shucker at Bourbon House, pictured above)

Bourbon House has five oyster shell recycling bins that they use.  After the shells are collected, they're taken to Buras, where the shells cure out in the sun for six months to get rid of any bacteria.  Then, local volunteers use the shells to help build up and restore our coast.

"Oyster reefs are made, and these reefs are a way of slowing down and hopefully stopping the erosion, and rebuilding the marshes.  This program is important because it gives everyone an opportunity to participate in coastal restoration," Abieou said.

Oyster fishermen love this program, too, because new oysters grow on the reefs where the recycled shells lay.  So far, this program has kept nearly 3,000 tons of shells out of the landfills.

For more information on the Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana, click HERE.

Other local restaurants participating in the oyster recycling program are: Arnaud's Restaurant, Borgne, Bourbon House, Cooter Brown's, Desire Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta, Drago's, Elysian Seafood, Peche, Red Fish Grill, R'Evolution, Remoulade, Tracey's Original Irish Channel Bar, and 2 Girls One Shuck.