Trash in waterways is an unsightly and potentially unhealthy problem. Baltimore experienced an increase of trash flowing into its harbor after every storm. But the trash that comes in can include things like large tree branches and even tires. So how to take care of this? It’s not like volunteers can just come down and pick it up easily like on the beach or in a park.
Enter Mr. Trash Wheel: a semi-autonomous trash interceptor at the end of the Jones Fall River in Baltimore’s harbor that uses a unique blend of solar and hydro power to pull hundreds of tons of trash out of the water each year.
Trash from the streets of Baltimore gets flushed into storm drains that empty into the Jones Fall River. The floating trash is then carried by the river to its outlet into the Inner Harbor, where it is captured by Mr. Trash Wheel.
Mr. Trash Wheel is powered by the current from the river, and backup power is provided by solar panels when the current is sluggish. These systems drive a conveyor belt which removes the floating debris. Rotating forks dip into and out of the water and then place the trash onto the conveyor belt which moves it into a dumpster. The water wheel can be controlled remotely on the Internet.
Mr. Trash Wheel was invented by John Kellett, who developed the idea when observing trash in the harbor while passing the area on his walk to work.
It is probably high time that Mr. Trash Wheel got some relatives in other cities.