Oyster Shell Recycling Program Expands to Four Cape Cod Towns

WELLFLEET – A nonprofit’s summer program to recycle oyster shells from restaurants on Cape Cod has launched for its second year and has expanded its operation.

The Massachusetts Oyster Project started shell recycling on the Cape in 2021, when it partnered with Wellfleet to divert more than 25,000 pounds of oyster shell over the season.

In addition to working with restaurants in Wellfleet, this year the program will also pick up shells from restaurants in Chatham, Eastham, and Orleans.  

“The reception last year was outstanding and this year we’ve expanded to have an even bigger impact and divert even more oyster shells from landfills into the water,” President of the Massachusetts Oyster Project Theresa Beybutt said.

Participating establishments will put oyster shells into special containers, which will then be picked up by Oyster Project staff.

The shells will then be dumped in a collection site that will be overseen by Wellfleet’s Shellfish Department and Transfer Station.

Next year, the shells will be spread out around Wellfleet Harbor to help provide a habitat for young oysters.

“This partnership allows us to capture some of the shell that is harvested here and get it back in the water to provide nursery services to keep our shellfishery growing sustainably into the future,” Wellfleet’s Shellfish Constable Nancy Civetta said.  

Restaurants working with the program in Wellfleet include the Beachcomber, Bookstore & Restaurant, CShore, Mac’s Seafood Shack, Moby Dick’s, Peal, Van Rensselaer’s, The Wicked Oyster and Winslow’s Tavern.

Establishments in Chatham include Del Mar Bar & Bistro and Mac’s Chatham Fish & Lobster.

The Barley Neck and The Rail in Orleans will be part of the program this year. Both Arnold’s and Brine in Eastham will also participate.  

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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