Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel sounds like cute cartoon characters, but they are actually garbage fighting machines that are helping clean up Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. These solar- and hydro-powered trash interceptors have effectively been combatting water pollution since 2014.
The concept was first suggested by local sailor and engineer John Kellett, who eventually gained the support of non-profit Water Partnership of Baltimore to execute his plan. Solar panels and river currents turn the wheel, which activates a conveyor belt. The trash gets pulled in by floating containment booms and lifted by rotating forks onto the conveyor belt. It’s then deposited in a dumpster, which is emptied when full.