Meet Mr. Trash Wheel


Clean Up


Meet Mr. Trash Wheel

Let me introduce you to Mr. Trash Wheel. Mr. Trash Wheel is the newest resident on the Baltimore riverfront. His efforts to clean up the city’s inner harbor are taking social media by storm. People around the world are celebrating this clean energy cleaner.

Clean energy trash removal

Officially called the Inner Harbor Water Wheel, this machine uses technology to float around the Jones Falls River and collect trash. Mr. Trash Wheel draws energy from the water and the sun to gather debris and litter. River currents turn a large wheel that picks up garbage from the water. The trash is then dropped off at a large dumpster barge. Solar panels provide backup power for when there isn’t enough current to keep Mr. Trash Wheel running.

River clean up

Although solar panels aren’t the main source of energy for this machine, they’re still impressive. On a sunny day, the solar panel system installed on Mr. Trash Wheel is powerful enough to provide electricity for a typical Maryland home.

How it works

When Mr. Trash Wheel is on the river, litter and debris are funneled onto a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt is powered by a large water wheel. This water wheel uses the river current to rotate but can use solar panel electricity for backup. The water wheel powers the conveyor belt, which slowly carries trash to a large dumpster. When the dumpster is full, a boat carries it away and replaces it with an empty trash bin. Debris from the water is taken to.

Mr. Trash Wheel’s progress

Since Mr. Trash Wheel hit the water in May 2014, he has collected over one million pounds of debris. Plastic bottles, styrofoam containers, cigarette butts, glass bottles, grocery bags and chip bags are some of the most common items retrieved. While the majority of litter collected is small, Mr. Trash Wheel is strong enough to gather larger items. Tires, big logs, and other debris are occasionally carried up the conveyor belt and into the garbage.

River clean up

People can track this waste-collecting wheel on Twitter and online on the Baltimore water front’s website. In one record-setting day, Mr. Trash Wheel collected about 38,000 pounds of trash. Once the litter is removed from the water, it’s burned and used to generate electricity. This clean-energy effort to clean up Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has several benefits but one of the primary goals is to make the water swimmable by 2020.

Trash collection and education

Mr. Trash Wheel serves many purposes. While his main job is to remove trash from the water, he’s also a great educational tool. People around the world are talking about this new resource to clean up our environment. Maybe Mr. Trash Wheel can expand to help clean up waterways around the world, or maybe he’ll inspire the next generation to create a new pollution solution. Either way, Mr. Trash Wheel is a huge success.