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Shell Collection Program FAQ Q. What  is  the  Billion  Oyster  Project?  Why  do  you  collect  oyster  shells?   Answer:  The  Billion  Oyster  Project  (“BOP”)  is  an  oyster  reef  restoration  and  education   project  in  New  York  funded  by  the  New  York  Harbor  Foundation.  The  New  York  Harbor   School,   a   public   high   school   teaching  through   restoration-­based   STEM   education   programs,  and   many   NY   middle   schools   participate   in   the   program.   Both   New   York   Harbor  School  and  New  York  Harbor  Foundation  are  located  at  Governors  Island.   The  BOP  Shell  Collection  Program,  operated  by  Earth  Matter  NY,  collects  fresh  oyster   shells  from  NYC  restaurants  and   events  to  supply  the  BOP.  New  York  students  need   cured  oyster  shells  to  restore  NY  Harbor  while  learning  applied  science!     Q.  Why  should  I  consider  participating  in  the  Shell  Collection  Program?   Answer:  Joining  the  BOP  Shell  Collection  Program  has  many  benefits:   •   Weekly   (up   to   three   pick-­ups   per   week   on   Mondays,   Wednesdays,   and/or   Fridays),   biweekly,   and/or   eventual   oyster   shell   collection   at   no     cost.  You  can  save  operational  costs  and  reduce  your  waste  footprint.   •   It  is  a  fantastic  opportunity  to  become  a  more  sustainable  business  while   helping   restore   New   York   Harbor,   divert   tons   of   oyster   shells   from   landfills,  and  educate  the  community  about  the  benefits  of  conservation   and  restoration.   •   Bins,  buckets,  signage,  and  staff  guidance  are  provided.     •   Promotional   material   to   promote   BOP   among   customers   are   provided.   Restaurant  promotion  through  BOP  website  and  social  media.   •   Various  annual  BOP  events  where  restaurants  can  participate!   Q.  I  am  the  owner/manager  of  a  restaurant  with  a  raw  bar.  Can  I  manage  oyster   shells  as  a  separate  organic  waste?   Answer:   Yes.   The   Billion   Oyster   Project   Shell   Collection   Program   is   the   only   way   to   manage  oyster  shells  separately  from  regular  organic  waste  in  New  York  City.   Q.   Our   menu   offers   oysters,   clams,   and   mussels.   Do   you   collect   any   kind   of   shells?   Answer:  We  accept  mixed  bivalve  shells,  but  oyster  shells  have  to  be  predominant.  We   do  not  collect  gastropod  shells.   Q.  Do  you  collect  throughout  and  outside  New  York  City?  

Document Version: FAQ06 New York. August 26, 2015


Answer: No.   Our   Program   has   limited   capacity.   We   only   collect   from   restaurants   and   bars   located   in   Manhattan,   Brooklyn,   and   Staten   Island.   However,   if   you   have   a   restaurant   in   any   other   borough   and   are   interested   in   joining   the   Shell   Collection   Program,   please,   fill   our   online   Shell   Collection   enrollment   form.   If   your   restaurant   is   located  in  one  of  our  routes  or  we  expand  our  program,  we  would  like  to  contact  you.   Q.  How  can  I  join  the  Shell  Collection  Program?   Answer:  First,  you  have  to  contact  us  filling  our  online  Shell  Collection  enrollment  form.   This  form  will  ask  you  basic  information  such  as  contact  information,  oysters  sold  per   week,   and   storage   capacity.   It   is   crucial   for   us   to   have   this   information   in   order   to   design  and  modify  our  collection  routes.   We   will   include   your   restaurant   in   our   database   and   contact   you   informing   about   our   current   admission   status.   If   we   are   able   to   include   your   restaurant   in   our   collection   routes,  you  will  have  to  read  and  sign  an  Acknowledgment  letter  of  participation  in  the   Shell  Collection  Program.     Q.   If   I   send   you   a   service   request   form   today,   when   would   you   be   able   to   start   collecting  my  shells?   Answer:  It  depends.  We  have  limited  pick-­up  capacity.  We  will  study  one  by  one  each   request  to  see  if  it  is  possible  to  include  your  restaurant  in  our  current  or  future  routes.   If  we  can  include  your  restaurant  in  the  Program,  we  might  start  collecting  shells  in  two   weeks.   Q.  Is  there  a  maximum  or  minimum  of  shells  to  join  the  Program?  How  will  I  store   the  shells?   Answer:  We  collect  from  big  and  small  oyster  shell  generators.  We  collect  with  64-­gal   wheeled  bins  with  lockable  lids  with  gasket  (space  required  for  each  bin:  32”  L  x  24  ¼”   W)  and  5-­gal  buckets  with  gamma  sealed  lids  (space  required  for  each  bucket:  12  ¼”  L   x   12   ¼”   W).   If   your   restaurant   sells   over   1,200   oysters   per   week,   we   will   provide   you   with  a  64-­gal  bin.  If  you  are  under  1,200,  we  can  provide  5-­gal  buckets.  However,  our   capacity  of  operating  with  buckets  is  limited.  

Image. 64-­gal  bin  (left)  and  5-­gal  sealed  bucket  (right).  

Document Version: FAQ06 New York. August 26, 2015


We are  really  interested  in  restaurants  and  bars  that  can  provide  several  bins  on  each   pick-­up.  If  you  are  one  of  them,  we  will  be  happy  to  hear  from  you!     However,   sometimes   different   restaurants   and   bars   that   generate   small   amounts   of   shells   are   pretty   close   to   each   other;;   then,   we   can   reorganize   our   routes   to   collect   shells  from  all  of  you.     Q.  Would  the  oyster  shells  odor  be  a  problem?  What  about  pests?   Answer:    No.  Our  current  restaurant  partners  store  their  shells  in  walk-­in  freezers  or  in   indoor  trash  areas  and  do  not  experience  odors.    The  64-­gal  bins  have  lids  with  gasket   and  lock,  and  the  5-­gal  buckets  have  a  gamma  sealed  lid.  Besides,  we  can  provide  a   bottle  of  deodorizing  solution  prepared  with  natural  products  that  will  help  avoiding  any   potential  odor  and/or  a  bucket  of  sawdust  that  could  be  scattered  over  the  shells  too.   The  buckets  also  come  with  a  fly  catcher  ribbon  to  avoid  flies  around  the  bin  and  are   sprayed   with   diatomaceous   earth   when   they   are   stored   outside   during   the   summer.     Also,  we  will  pick  up  your  shells  when  they  are  still  fresh.  We  will  work  with  you  to  find   the  best  way  to  store  your  shells.   Q.  How  does  the  shell  collection  work?   Answer:     Once   we   have   provided   the   restaurant   with   bins   or   buckets,   we   can   start   collecting   shells   in   accordance   to   an   agreed   calendar   and   schedule.   We   collect   three   days   per   week   (Monday,   Wednesday,   and   Friday)   from   6   am   until   2   pm.   Restaurants   and   bars   must   make   sure   that   the   bins   are   filled   exclusively   with   clean   shells   and   no   other   type   of   waste   (some   lemon   wedges   are   okay).   Shells   should   be   placed   directly   into  the  bins  or  buckets  (no  plastic  bags).     On  the  pick-­up  day,  our  staff  will  go  to  your  restaurant,  get  the  full  bins  or  buckets,  do  a   quality  control,  and  leave  fresh  empty  containers.   Q.  Does  the  Shell  Collection  Program  charge  any  fee  for  the  services?   Answer:  There  is  no  fee  for  the  collection  services  because  we  are  a  not-­for-­profit  non-­ commercial   waste   collection   activity   in   connection   with   an   environmental   and   educational   program.   However,   you   can   make   a   donation   and   help   us   continue   collecting  oyster  shells.  Contact  us  to  get  more  information.   Q:   I   am   the   coordinator   of   a   seafood   festival   and   we   are   going   to   serve   lots   of   oysters.  Can  you  collect  our  shells?   Answer:  We  will  work  with  you  to  see  if  we  can  collect  your  shells.  Please,  fill  the  online   Shell  Collection  enrollment  form.  We  will  study  your  needs  and  let  you  know  if  we  can   do  the  collection.  If  we  are  able  to  collect  the  shells  generated  in  the  event,  we  should   discuss  some  coordination  and  communication  aspects  before  any  agreement.  Another   option  could  be  your  organization  transporting  the  shells  to  our  operation  sites.  

Document Version: FAQ06 New York. August 26, 2015


Q: What   does   the   Billion   Oyster   Project   Shell   Collection   Program   do   with   the   shells  collected  from  the  restaurants  and  bars?   Answer:  We  pick  up  and  transport  the  oyster  shells  to  our  curing  site  in  Staten  Island   where   we   store   the   shells   outside.   Processing   fresh   shells   includes   raking,   removing   eventual  pieces  of  contamination,  and  spraying  a  deodorizing  solution  to  control  odors.   We   build   shell   rows   and   keep   them   exposed   to   the   sun,   rain,   and   other   weather   conditions   between   six   months   and   a   year.   After   that   period,   any   flesh   and   potential   pathogens  have  been  removed,  and  cured  shells  are  ready  to  be  reused.  

For  more  information,  visit  us:  

earthmatter.org/bop          bop.nyc  

Document Version: FAQ06 New York. August 26, 2015

BOP Restaurant Partner FAQ  
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