- Associated Press - Friday, April 3, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Commonwealth University has expanded an oyster recycling program to Charlottesville.

The program operated by VCU’s Rice Rivers Center will soon start collecting discarded shells from Charlottesville restaurants. The shells, which would otherwise be sent to a landfill, will now be returned to the Chesapeake Bay to create a natural habitat for new oysters.

The expansion builds off a program in Richmond, where more than two dozen local restaurants recycled more than 50,000 pounds of shells in 2014. Oysters provide critical environmental benfits such as filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day by consuming sediments and pollution. The oyster reefs offer a valuable habitat for larger fish and shoreline protection from wave and storm impact.

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