Feel-Good Friday

If you’ve ever been to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, this may be familiar to you. The contraption is named Mr. Trash Wheel, and it runs through the harbor, gathering up trash and other pollutants. Mr. Trash Wheel is so popular, that it will be expanding to other cities with dirty waterways.

For years, the ambiguous yet contented face of Mr. Trash Wheel has been an icon of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The googly-eyed trash collector has been gobbling up millions of pounds of the city’s river-borne garbage for years, and led to the creation of several water-wheel allies like Capt. Trash Wheel, and Prof. Trash Wheel.

When I was about to graduate from college, the school had a bunch of trips for Senior Week. One was to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I saw this thing in action, and I can tell you it really works. It’s creepy as hell, but it works.

The idea for some sort of garbage collector came from local inventor John Kellet, who would walk across the footbridge spanning the Jones Falls stream that feeds the Baltimore harbor—and be disturbed on seeing the unabated flow of garbage floating towards it.

His idea has been so successful that several other organizations are building their own Mr. Trash Wheel. Coming soon to the Gwynns Falls River in Maryland is Gwynda the Good Wheel of the West, while Oakland, California is building one called Trasharella.

I think this is a brilliant idea, and every big city – looking at you, Philadelphia – should look into purchasing a few of these.