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CHEP Australia is working with social enterprise and environmental group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to recycle oyster, mussel and scallop shells from wholesalers and restaurants in Geelong, Victoria.

The aim of the project is to use the shells to restore the degraded reefs in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

The reef structures were destroyed from dredge fishing during the 1800s and 1900s. The reefs accommodate oysters and mussels, which provide social and economic benefits such as preventing algal blooms by filtering runoff water and providing fish with habitats.

CHEP has provided reusable containers at the end of their useful economic life, along with sharing best practices in logistics and financial assistance to help reconnect the economy back to the natural ecology.

The containers enable the collection of discarded shellfish shells from food outlets and redirect them to a holding area provided by the City of Greater Geelong.

This process is performed by the team at Geelong Disabled Peoples Industries (GDPI). The shells are then cured over six months before being aggregated with limestone to form a ‘reef matrix’. The matrix is then submerged into a ‘hatchery’ along with oyster spawn, and then nature takes its course.

To date, 300 metres cubed of shells have been collected from participating food retailers, bypassing Geelong’s landfills to the shellfish restoration project.

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