Four available oyster shell drop sites in New Hanover County

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY,NC (WWAY) — Did you know it’s against state law to throw oyster shells in the landfill with the rest of your trash? Well, good news is there are other locations across New Hanover County you can take them.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation says there are four locations including one near Carolina Beach State Park, the UNCW Aquaculture Center in Wrightsville Beach, Airlie Gardens and the Trails End boat ramp off Masonboro Loop Road.

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Education Coordinator Ted Wiligis says this is a joint effort between local municipalities and non-profits.

“There was law passed in I believe 2015, which made it illegal for both state agencies to use oysters as landscaping as well as making it illegal to throw away oyster shells,” Wiligis said.

Wiligis says, if you sort your shells, Brunswick and New Hanover counties’ landfills also have spots set aside for shell collection.



He says oyster shells are essential in the reef growing process which are great for filtering the water, maintaining a thriving fish habitat, supporting a fish economy and sequestering carbon.

“Larvae float around in the water, swim down to the bottom and have to attach to something hard,” Wiligis said. “If they land in the mud, they’ll die. So, the best thing is for them to attach to another oyster or oyster shell and they grow to form that reef and so without oyster shells in the water we don’t have the ability for more oyster reefs to essentially grow.”