The innovative Mr. Trash Wheel gets help from nature to clean up Baltimore’s polluted inner harbor. By combining old and new technology, the wheel harnesses the power of water and sunlight to collect litter and debris flowing down the Jones Falls River and into Baltimore’s harbor.
The river’s current provides power to turn the water wheel, which lifts trash and debris from the water onto a conveyor belt, which then deposits it into a dumpster barge. When there isn’t enough water current, a solar panel array provides additional power to keep the machine running. When the dumpster is full, it’s towed away by boat, and a new dumpster is put in place. The trash collected is then incinerated which generates electricity. Since 2014, Mr. Trash Wheel has removed 420 tons of trash (plastic bottles, polystyrene containers, cigarette butts, glass bottles, grocery and chips bags) from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor!
Featured on the right is a remarkable photograph that shows how much of an impact the water wheel had already made after a year in service.
Mr. Trash Wheel could be a solution for cleaning trash pollution in waterways around the world. Dozens of countries have asked for help in creating their own wheels. Among them: India, for its garbage-laden Ganges River, and Brazil, which is hosting Olympic events in Rio de Janeiro’s trashy Guanabara Bay.