Alabama Coastal Foundation and Republic Services partner to rehabilitate oyster harvests.
First-of-its-Kind Oyster Shell Recycling Program Launches in Alabama
(UNITED STATES, 5/29/2017)
The Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) and Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE: RSG), a leader in the recycling and waste services industry, are pleased to announce a partnership in support of the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program, the first-of-its-kind in the local area.
Funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the program helps to support the sustainable growth and rehabilitation of oyster harvests inAlabama, as well as the livelihood of the fishing industry in theGulf of Mexico.
Oyster shells that are collected through this program will go back into Alabama waters to help more oysters grow, provide habitat, limit erosion and improve water quality.
"The Alabama Coastal Foundation uses an inclusive, environmental stewardship approach to accomplish our work," saidMark Berte, executive director at the Alabama Coastal Foundation. "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."
Original Oyster House was among the first restaurants to Pilot Alabama’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program.
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 theAlabamacoast where they become the building blocks of newly restored oyster beds.
Chris Blankenship, director of Alabama Marine Resources Division, stands atop oyster shells that will be returned to Alabama waters.
"We are committed to being a good neighbor in the communities we are fortunate to serve," saidJamey Amick, area president at Republic Services.
"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 theAlabamacoast," Amick added.
More than 40 percent of the nation's seafood is derived from the GulfCoast. Sustaining and replenishing the habitat for the GulfCoast marine life is vital toAlabama'seconomy and environment.
In addition to food value, oysters provide many other ecosystem benefits, including:
Improving water quality: an adult oyster can filter 15 gallons of water per day;
Providing habitat: oyster reefs provide safe habitat for fish, shrimp, crabs, birds, and other animals; and
Limiting erosion: oyster reefs are natural breakwaters that protect shorelines.
In its infancy, the program has already collected over 2 million oyster shells, which is equal to the weight of approximately 40 adult elephants. That is enough oyster shells to fill 31 waste collection trucks, or cover 5.5 acres in the Gulf.
Natural oyster shell is critical and the preferred material for oyster larvae to attach to and grow on. Reefs protect coastline from erosion and tidal surge during inclement weather and Alabama is historically the largest processors of oysters in America. Getting oyster shells back in Alabama waters will affect everyone from the oysterman, to the processor, to the distributors, to the restaurateurs and to the consumer.
About Alabama Coastal Foundation
The Alabama Coastal Foundation's mission is to improve and protectAlabama'scoastal environment through cooperation, education and participation. The organization pursues practical solutions to conservation challenges in a non-partisan manner. ACF is dedicated to partner with businesses, local government and other non-profits to achieve common ground solutions to our environmental problems.
About the Alabama Oyster Shell Recycling Program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is providing the funding for this project as a part of the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP). This project is being led by the Alabama Coastal Foundation. To ensure the success of this project, ACF has established an Advisory Committee including restaurant owners and chefs in addition to representatives from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, and the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program. The first phase of the project began along the Causeway in October of 2016 and expanded with restaurants in OrangeBeach andGulfShoresin spring of 2017.
The shells are transported to the Alabama Marine Resources Division where they undergo a curing process.
About Republic Services
Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste. Through its subsidiaries, Republic's collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for their commercial, industrial, municipal, residential and oilfield customers.We'll handle it from here.TM, the brand's promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainableBlue PlanetTMfor future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.