VCU Rice Center

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News and events
July 21, 2014

Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program featured on CBS6 special

CBS6’s special, “Powering Virginia”, has most recently featured the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The Program Manager, Todd Janeski, was interviewed by CBS’s Jessica Noll at the VCU Rice Rivers Center; the interview outlines well for the public the structure and purpose of the VOSRP.

Last summer, the Rice Rivers Center piloted a near-zero budget project in the Richmond region as a proof-of-concept to collect business-generated shell and return it to the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. In four months, nearly six tons of shell were collected from four Richmond restaurants, and partnerships were developed with Virginia Green, Virginia Coastal Zone Management, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, City of Richmond, Tidewater Fiber Corporation and the Virginia Master Naturalists.

Since then, more than 15 tons of shell have been collected and currently is coming from 14 restaurants with three public collection locations (Yellow Umbrella Provisions, Little House Green Grocery and the Farmer’s Market at St. Stephen’s). The VOSRP also partners with Anderson's Neck Oyster Co., Ruby Salts Oyster Co., Chapel Creek Oyster Co., and Rappahannock Oyster Co., and many more. During this time, nearly 300 volunteer hours have been amassed, Whole Foods hosted the program for a fund raiser, Starbucks has become an engaged partner and the program is working toward an expansion beyond Richmond. It is estimated that the Richmond region and the valley can generate 50-70 tons annually.

All of the VOSRP shell will be used as part of Virginia oyster restoration work. The shell is delivered to the CBF Gloucester Point facility to be aged, seeded and returned to the bay at sanctuary sites. It is hoped that some of this shell can be used as part of the comprehensive restoration in the Piankatank River.

For more information on the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program, please visit our VOSRP page. To see the CBS6 special, please click the video below, or visit the CBS6 website.