Legislation to create a tax credit for restaurants that recycle oyster shells is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill was supported by Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana which operates the only large-scale shell recycling program in the state. Advocacy Director Tyler Bosworth believes saying “no” to landfills and “yes” to slowing coastal erosion is a win.
“We understand that most of the oyster shells that’s going through restaurants in Louisiana are being discarded into trash bins where they end up in landfills and serve no use for the state of Louisiana,” said Bosworth.
Restaurants statewide would receive a tax credit of $1 per 50 pounds of oysters and up to $2,000 per restaurant recycled to offset costs associated with recycling.
13 million pounds of shells have been returned back to the water since 2014. Bosworth says the process involves volunteers to help build shell reefs to limit erosion.
“Every shell goes through a six-month sun curing process and twice a year we get additional volunteers to move the shells to coastal Louisiana, where we deploy those in a fashion that creates living shorelines and protects the communities from the effects of coastal erosion,” said Bosworth.
The oyster reefs help absorb storm surges during hurricanes and tropical storms.
More than two dozen New Orleans restaurants participate in the CRCL Oyster Shell Recycling Program. Bosworth hopes this tax credit will get more restaurants involved.
“We know that this is going to be successful,” said Bosworth.
CRCL has built five reefs with a sixth planned for this fall.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign the legislation.