Water Wheel Wizardry

As a follow up to the previous blog on the huge trash collection in the Pacific Ocean, here's a feel-good sustainability story from Baltimore. 

Baltimore's Inner Harbor had a water pollution problem. When people throw garbage on the ground instead of a trash can or a recycling bin, rain water carries the garbage off streets and into storm drains which flow unfiltered into neighborhood streams. These streams carry the trash into the Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. Over time, the collection of trash became an eyesore and a health hazard.

Baltimore's solution: Mr. Trash Wheel.  Mr. Trash Wheel is a floating barge of old technology and new, using an old water wheel design to harness water power of downstream current that drives a conveyor belt and trash skimmer to collect the garbage like a giant trash-eating bug. It evens is designed to look like a giant bug! And when the current is slow, Mr. Trash Wheel uses new technology in the form or solar panels to drive the conveyor belt and skimmer. The conveyor belt then deposits all the trash in a large dumpster. When the dumpster is full, it is towed away by boat and replaced with a new dumpster.

The impact has been amazing! Since May of 2014, Mr. Trash Wheel has collected over 1.7 Million pounds of trash, including 685,000 plastic bottles, 800,000 styrene cups, 10.4 million cigarette butts, 550,000 plastic grocery bags, and 850,00 chip bags! Just think, all of that would be sitting in Baltimore or nearby waterways if it weren't for Mr. Trash Wheel. In fact, Mr. Trash Wheel was just named a 2018 Waste Wise Pioneer for its use of water and solar power utilization. 

Congratulations Mr. Trash Wheel!  We need more just like you in our lives......


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