The Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) and Republic Services Inc. announced a partnership in support of the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program. Funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the program helps to support the sustainable growth and rehabilitation of oyster harvests in Alabama, as well as the livelihood of the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
"The Alabama Coastal Foundation uses an inclusive, environmental stewardship approach to accomplish our work," Mark Berte, executive director at the Alabama Coastal Foundation, said in a statement. "One of the reasons this program has had such a successful start is the relationship that we have with Republic Services. Working together, we have established a solid foundation that continues to help get a vital natural resource back into the water. We appreciate the reliable, quality service that Republic provides, and look forward to building on that success in the future."
With 28 restaurants currently committed to the program, and plans to expand that number this year, ACF partners with Republic to collect oyster shells from coastal restaurants three times per week. The shells are then transported to the Alabama Marine Resources Division where they undergo a curing process. Once ready, the repurposed shells are then deposited in designated locations along the Alabama coast where they become the building blocks of newly restored oyster beds.
"We are committed to being a good neighbor in the communities we are fortunate to serve," Jamey Amick, area president at Republic Services, said in a statement. "This means providing our customers with sustainable solutions while fulfilling our promise to responsibly regenerate the environment with the materials we are entrusted to handle every day. We are proud to partner with the ACF, and to support their efforts to help rehabilitate the oyster harvests along the Alabama coast."
The program has already collected over 2 million oyster shells. That is enough oyster shells to fill 31 waste collection trucks, or cover 5.5 acres in the Gulf.