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Grit & Grace is a coastal chic gift company that recognizes the beauty in nature and works hard to preserve the environment through oyster recycling, sustainable production practices, awareness campaigns, and educational outreaches.  

Founder Rachel Gordon started this company wanting to make beautiful gifts using oyster shells, however,  after researching the industry Rachel learned there was a shell shortage in South Carolina. Immediately she knew there was a much larger purpose for her work, and partnered with SCDNR’s oyster restoration and enhancement program, she is determined to create a product that is both beautiful, and helpful to the coast! 

From day one Grit & Grace has recycled 10 oyster shells (that would otherwise be going to a landfill) for every Grit & Grace Oyster sold. 


Why do we need to recycle oyster shells? 

A number of reasons! Not only are oyster reefs part of the natural breakwaters that protect our shorelines from erosion, but these reefs also provide a habitat for a variety of marine species, including young oyster larvae. 

During the summer, the adult oyster release millions of fertilized eggs into the water. These tiny, free-swimming oyster larvae may be carried far from their reef of origin as they develop over the next two to three weeks. At that point in their growth, the young oyster must attach to a hard substrate in our soft marsh soil, preferably another oyster shell or oyster reef, in order to survive.

If the developing oyster is unable to find a hard substrate, it will wither and die. These juvenile oysters, known as spat, require several years to reach suitable size for harvest, but they will begin to reproduce within a year. 

When adult wild oysters are harvested, this vital life cycle can be disrupted if the shell is not replaced to provide habitat for the young oysters! Replenishing oyster shell is an important way to ensure the future generations of oysters, as well as restoring our natural breakwaters!

Complete the cycle by recycling!


Why are oysters so important?

Oysters are more than a seafood delicacy! These tiny ocean superheroes help protect our seas and contribute to the overall wellness of our ecosystem in many ways, including:

  • Filtration: adult oysters filter up to 2.5 gallons of water per hour, improving water quality in the process
  • Habitat: oysters build reefs, providing habitat for fish, shrimp, crabs, and other animals
  • Erosion: oyster reefs are natural breakwaters that protect shorelines


How Can You Help?

South Carolina has a critical shortage of oyster shell, and it is estimated that 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have already been lost. To properly manage the state's oyster beds and maintain these important oyster habitats, citizens and businesses must continually recycle the oyster shell that is removed from our environment. You can help restore, preserve, and enhance South Carolina's oyster habitats by recycling shell!

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has organized a statewide oyster shell recycling program. You can drop off your oyster shells at one of several shell recycling centers located along the South Carolina coast, or a pickup service may be available for large quantities of shell.

You can also reach out to Grit & Grace directly at gritandgracestudio@gmail.com if you are interested in learning about opportunities to help with the Charleston oyster recycling movement! 

Link  https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oceans/oyster-reefs.htm