Charleston Wine + Food

The oyster is the cornerstone of Lowcountry culture – raw, steamed, fried… we love ’em all! But they are more than just a tabletop staple; they are crucial to our estuaries. A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of sea water each day, clearing toxins and consuming algae resulting in improved water quality, and farmed oysters allow wild oysters to recover and serve as habitat + natural breakwaters to prevent erosion. Oysters play a crucial role in coastal South Carolina’s ecology, economy, and culture, and a healthy oyster population in South Carolina depends on recycled oyster shells.

During the 2023 festival, we recycled 9,000 pounds of oyster shells to Bowens Island Restaurant and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

When we recycle our oyster shells they are properly quarantined before they are planted in the intertidal zone to form new, self-sustaining oyster reefs, thus restoring + enhancing the oyster habitat. Every 3 bushels makes 10 square feet of reef!

Whether you are a restaurant, large community event, or are simply hosting a residential oyster roast in your backyard with friends + family, you can recycle your shells for free!

Here’s how:

  1. Residents, events and businesses can drop shells off at oyster recycling sites. Click here to view a map of drop-off sites provided by the City of Charleston
  2. Large events (over 20 bushels) call (843) 953-1367 to request a trailer or bins from SCDNR to collect shells
  3. Restaurants can have shells picked up for FREE by SCDNR. Contact oystershellrecycling@dnr.sc.gov or (843) 953-9397 for more information


What you eat, where it comes from, and practicing smart recycling can have a lasting impact on the environment. Members of the culinary community are constantly innovating to promote sustainable foodways; practices such as sustainable oyster farming are creating systems that keep our planet top of mind.

One of our core values as an organization is good stewardship: operating with respect to the sustainability of the Lowcountry. As we celebrate Charleston’s renowned culinary  + hospitality community, we work towards championing a more sustainable culinary experience for all.



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635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403