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What Should You Do With Empty Oyster Shell?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Empty oyster shells are the discarded remains of oysters that have been shucked and eaten. They may seem like just another piece of waste, but these shells can be put to good use in various ways.

Today, we will explore what you can do with empty oyster shells and how they can benefit both you and the environment.

Benefits of using Empty Oyster Shells

Empty oyster shells have a variety of benefits, both for you and the environment.

1) Fertilizer

Crushed oyster shells can be used as a natural fertilizer due to their high calcium content. This is beneficial for plants as it helps with root development and overall growth.

2) Compost

Empty oyster shells are also great additions to compost piles. They break down slowly, providing a steady release of nutrients into the soil.

3) Drainage

Oyster shells can be used as drainage material in potted plants or gardens. This helps with proper water flow and prevents root rot.

4) Pathways

Crushed oyster shells can be used as a natural and environmentally friendly alternative to gravel for creating pathways in gardens or walkways.

5) Decorations

Oyster shells can also be used as decorations in various DIY projects, from home decor to jewelry making.

6) Erosion control

Along with being a decorative addition to your garden, oyster shells can also help prevent erosion when placed strategically along shorelines or slopes.

7) Habitat creation

Oyster shells can be used to create habitats for various sea creatures, such as oysters, crabs, and small fish. This is beneficial for both the environment and local wildlife.

8) Educational tool

Lastly, empty oyster shells can also serve as an educational tool for children or adults interested in learning about marine life and sustainability.

Ways to Obtain Empty Oyster Shells

Now that we know the benefits of using empty oyster shells, you may be wondering how to obtain them. Here are a few ways:

  • Save your own - If you enjoy eating oysters at home, save the shells after shucking and cleaning them.

  • Ask restaurants - Many oyster bars and restaurants will have a bin or pile of discarded shells in the back. You can ask if they would be willing to give some to you for reuse.

  • Community events - Oyster roasts or festivals often have a surplus of empty shells that they are looking to get rid of.

  • Online marketplaces - There are also online marketplaces or forums where people sell or trade empty oyster shells.

Proper Disposal of Empty Oyster Shells

If you are unable to find a use for your empty oyster shells, it is important to dispose of them properly. Here are some tips:

  • Check local regulations - Some areas have specific guidelines for disposing of seafood waste, including oyster shells. Make sure to check with your local government or waste management agency.

  • Do not put in the trash - Oyster shells should not be thrown in the regular trash as they can take a long time to decompose and may release harmful chemicals.

  • Compost or recycle - If you have a compost pile, you can add your oyster shells to it. Some recycling centres also accept oyster shells for composting.


Empty oyster shells are more than just waste, they can be repurposed in various ways that benefit both you and the environment.

So next time you come across some empty oyster shells, think twice before throwing them away and consider one of the many options for reuse. Let's work towards a more sustainable future, one oyster shell at a time.

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