New York City is Building an Oyster Bed Out of 5000 Toilets


In August, we reported that New York City was trying to reclaim its title as the oyster capital of the world by building a massive oyster bed in Jamaica Bay. Now, in collaboration with the Billion Oyster Project, the city is using 5000 old toilets to create a cozy—if slightly gross—home for its new mollusk families.

The toilets were donated by public schools around the city, as part of a collaboration between the Department of Education and Department of Environmental Protection. In return for their inefficient old toilets, public schools received new, water-saving models.

In a statement, the Mayor’s Office explained that the 5000 toilets, smashed into small porcelain chunks, will give free-floating oyster larvae something to latch onto as they grow. While the oyster bed consists of an initial 50,000 oysters, the city hopes the mollusks will successfully spawn and attach either to the shells of other oysters or bits of porcelain.

The oyster bed will do more than bring delicious shellfish back to the city, The Washington Post reports. "This oyster bed will serve multiple purposes—protecting our wetlands from erosion, naturally filtering our water, and providing a home for our sea dwellers are just a few," Mayor Bill de Blasio explained. "More broadly, this oyster bed is a small but necessary step in our broader OneNYC commitment to create a more sustainable and more resilient City."

[h/t The Washington Post]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at