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Oyster Shells

Oyster shells are banned from North Carolina landfills. From 2003 to 2013, the state of North Carolina ran a state-funded shell recycling program. Through the program, the Division of Marine Fisheries provided centralized drop off locations and managed the collection and transportation of shells from restaurants, festivals and oyster roasts and the maintenance of dumpsters. From 2013 to 2018, the program was scaled down to a drop-off program supported by grant funding. In 2018, all state-run oyster shell recycling centers were removed due to budget cuts and a reduction in staff. A few counties, municipalities and organizations have continued to fund and run collection programs. Shells can be brought to a limited number of collection points along the coast. Contact your local solid waste program to find out if recycling collection points are offered in your area.

The Division of Waste Management Solid Waste Section suggests a variety of others alternatives, including crushing for use in roadbeds and/or landscaping as long as the material is dried before use. For more information and assistance, contact:

Jason Watkins - Division of Waste Management
(336) 776-9674 or

Anne Deaton - Division of Marine Fisheries 
(252) 726-7021 or