Kalmia Gardens Becomes Site for Oyster Shell Recycling

For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at 843-857-4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Feb. 9, 2012 – Beginning this year, Kalmia Gardens of Coker College has become a public drop-off location, one of 26 in South Carolina, for oyster shell recycling.

Recycled oyster shells are used by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to refurbish oyster grounds.  Shells provide the hard substrate necessary for juvenile oysters to attach and grow.  Unfortunately, when oysters are harvested, some of the habitat for future generations is lost.  Replanting shells replaces this habitat and helps ensure that oyster populations can continue to thrive.

In addition to oysters’ value as a food resource, oysters are critical to the health of South Carolina estuaries and tidal creeks.  Oysters filter and clean water, control phytoplankton blooms, recycle nutrients, provide essential fish habitat and form natural breakwaters to reduce erosion.

Typically, less than 15 percent of the oysters harvested in South Carolina are recycled for resource management.  When the quantity of shells recycled is less than that needed for replanting, DNR must purchase shells, usually from out-of-state sources.  For this reason, recycling oyster shells can save DNR thousands of dollars annually, freeing scarce financial resources for replanting.

Any clean oyster shell, whether local or imported, can be recycled at the DNR’s shell drop-off sites.

All shells are quarantined before replanting to ensure that no diseases or invasive species enter local waters. Officials from DNR ask that oyster shell donors separate and remove trash from shells before placing the shells in the recycling area.

Maps of recycling drop-off sites and tips on shell recycling can be found at http://saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/oyster.html or by calling (843) 953-9397.



PHOTO: Kalmia Gardens of Coker College has become a public drop-off location, one of 26 in South Carolina, for oyster shell recycling.  Pictured, Kalmia’s Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820.



Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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