There’s no place like home for Baltimore’s newest trash wheel, which will help clean trash and debris from the mouth of the Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore.
Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West will be the city’s fourth trash-collecting water wheel when it is installed in Baltimore’s Middle Branch next month.
The new trash wheel will join forces with Mr. Trash Wheel, which has been operating at the mouth of the Jones Falls since May 2014; Professor Trash Wheel, which was installed at the mouth of Harris Creek in December 2016; and Captain Trash Wheel, which began cleaning up Masonville Cove in June 2018. Together, the three trash wheels have collected more than 1,500 tons of trash and debris from Baltimore waterways.
Gwynnda will be the city’s largest trash wheel so far, capable of collecting about 300 tons of trash and debris per year from the Gwynns Falls — more than the other three wheels combined, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore said in a release.
“She’s kind of a big wheel,” Adam Lindquist, director of the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, who oversees the trash wheel program, said in a statement.
The Waterfront Partnership last year received thousands of submissions for potential names of the city’s next trash wheel before members of the Order of the Wheel, the secret society of trash wheel supporters, whittled down the list to a top four.
Members of the public then voted for their favorite name and ultimately chose Baltimore resident Zachary Yarosz’s idea for Gwynnda.
“My partner and I bike and fish along the Gwynns Falls and absolutely love everything about the trash wheels,” Yarosz said in a statement. “I guess I’m just a punny guy. I wanted to think up something extra special and magical for the Westside.”
Lindquist said the name was a good fit for the trash wheel.
“Our team loved ‘Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West’ the moment we saw it, and we are thrilled that trash wheel fans felt the same way,” he said. “It’s the perfect name for a project that will help cleanup West Baltimore.”
Covered in 72 solar panels, Gwynnda will use solar and hydro power to rake in trash, lift it from the water on a conveyor belt, and put it in a dumpster barge. The trash wheel will also use a grappling arm to move large debris.
Pasadena-based company Clearwater Mills invented the trash wheel technology and built the Gwynns Falls trash wheel.
Gwynnda introduced herself in a post on Mr. Trash Wheel’s Instagram account on Thursday.
“I am wheely pleased to meet you and cannot wait to join my Trash Wheel family at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore this Spring.”
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In another post, showcasing her sparkling purple googly eyes, long lashes and magical wand, Gwynnda shared more about her background.
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Descended from grandparents who were hard-working mills on the Gwynns Falls, Gwynnda said she enjoys spending her nights staring at the moon, listening to Erykah Badu’s music and snacking on chip bags.
Baltimore City and Baltimore County leaders celebrated the unveiling of the new trash wheel.
“This is an exciting day, as we see a true ‘Made in Baltimore’ solution to a universal problem – the Trash Wheel – being deployed on a larger scale,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. “Prioritizing keeping our waterways clean and trash-free is the right thing to do.”
“Baltimore County is proud to support Waterfront Partnership’s important work in the Gwynns Falls,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a statement. “The County is focused on litter prevention through outreach and partnerships like this with our communities, businesses and schools.”
Baltimore County is contributing to the operation of a trash wheel for the first time with the launch of Gwynnda. Baltimore City will also contribute to the trash wheel’s operation, as it has with the other three.
Wheelabrator Technologies, which owns property next to the new trash wheel project, will assume the cost of offloading trash from the wheel to Wheelabrator’s incinerator.