If you eat oysters in Galveston, there’s a chance your discarded oyster shells will end up back in the bay near the Texas city. Unlike throwing trash in the sea, that’s a good thing.
The Galveston Bay Foundation takes discarded shells from area restaurants on a weekly basis, and uses them to create “new” reused homes for marine life and lay down miles of shoreline protection for the bay. The foundation has been running its Oyster Shell Recycling Program since 2011, officials told Earther, when it was approached by a local restaurant owner who asked whether it would be possible to return the shells being thrown out at his restaurant to the bay. At that time, Galveston Bay had lost more than 50% of its oyster habitat from Hurricane Ike, which struck the region in 2008.
“There was a huge need to address oyster restoration because that storm basically brought in so much sediment that it choked those oysters, essentially suffocating them,” Haille Leija, habitat restoration manager at the foundation, said.
Earther talked to Leija and others involved in the innovative program and asked them to run us through how it worked. Let me tell you, the program will completely change your understanding of trash at your table.