Discarded oyster and hard-shell clam shells are collected from City Island restaurants to be cured for one year before being used in the CIOR oyster reef restoration.
Restaurant staff separates the shells from other waste and places them in 32-gallon bins, which are then transported by CIOR volunteers to a designated curing site supervised by the Billion Oyster Project’s Shell Collection Network. All foreign and unnatural debris is removed from the shells before they are placed on the grass-covered soil on top of one another to a height of 2 feet. Once a month, the shells are turned over by shovels in order to provide sufficient airflow. No chemicals are used in the curing process. The curing process takes at least 12 months.
The restaurants now providing shells include Johnny’s Reef, Tony’s Pier, Sammy’s Shrimp Box, Seafood City, Seashore, Lobster House, and the Harlem Yacht Club.