Mollusk shells, such as those of mussels and oysters, are made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), thus representing precious biomaterials that, once recycled, can bring important environmental and economical benefits. Nowadays, waste management (shells) derived from the food sectors represents a considerable problem worldwide, with very high costs. Although the well known exploitation potential of shell recycling in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits, sustainable and systemic circular solutions in marine environments are missing. Most of the waste from mollusk productions are used in agriculture and animal food industry, not often respecting sustainability criteria. There is another sector, with few virtuous projects around the world, still poorly investigated, which is based on the reuse of shells from the production in marine environment to create sustainable and regenerative solutions (i.e. habitat restoration).
The Oyster Project. Based on a cooperation among research, mollusk farming, fisheries, textile SMEs, administration, associations on sustainable tourism and education, the project aims at realizing and testing solutions built on bio materials (hemp, jute) and/or re-cycled fishing gears and waste (shells) derived from oyster production (Crassostrea gigas). The data will serve as preliminary information on the efficacy of materials to create circulation solutions to regenerate part of the bay, rich in biodiversity but highly impacted. Based on three main objectives: 1) to reuse of waste from oyster production to create circular solutions in marine environment; 2) to test of biomaterials (hemp, jute) and recycled fishing gears for regeneration; 3) to engage different actors, mollusk farmers, fishermen, stakeholders and citizens in order with practical activities (waste collection, recycling, reuse and reshaping for creating new gears for restoration) and thus making them aware about the importance of adopting circular solutions and reducing waste to protect the Ocean.