The circle is complete. In a kind of funny, kind of sad bit of irony, Mr. Trash Wheel, the googly-eyed trash-collecting vessel at the mouth of the Jones Falls, gobbled up a beer can with his very own likeness on the label.
That means at some point, a person may have consumed a Mr. Trash Wheel’s Lost Python Ale, the American IPA brewed by Peabody Heights in collaboration with the trash wheel’s caretakers with Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, and tossed the can on the ground.
The can then somehow ended up in the falls–through the sewer, perhaps–and into the mouth of Mr. Trash Wheel. Since 2014, Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel have dutifully collected nearly 1,000 tons of trash, preventing all that rubbish from entering the Inner Harbor. In that time, the wheels have gathered nearly 11 million cigarette butts, more than 900,000 polystyrene containers, more than 970,000 chip bags and, as the name of the beer implies, an actual snake that one time in 2015.*
Mr. Trash Wheel made the reveal yesterday in a tweet filled with existential dread.
It finally happened. I ate my own beer can.
HUMANS! I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS! Why would you do this to me??? ??? pic.twitter.com/xMoCW6E5Sd
— Mr. Trash Wheel (@MrTrashWheel) March 10, 2019
In an email, Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, noted it’s possible the can wound up there for reasons other than a litter bug, like a gust of wind blowing it out of a lid-less recycling bin (note that the can is crushed).
“On the upside, a portion of the cost of that beer did help pay to collect it from the water, but that is not our business plan,” he wrote. “Our message to all who drink our beer is to recycle your cans in bins with tight-fitting lids! Or buy it in kegs so you make less waste in the first place.”
So there you have it, folks. To do your part to save the environment, make sure your recycling is stored properly and buy beer by the keg.
*Clarification: This post has been updated to reflect that the total trash collected is the result of the combined efforts of Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel.
The vast majority of litter does not come from litter bugs, it comes from our failed attempts at waste management. If we rid the world of all liter bugs it would make no significant difference in the amount of trash entering our environment.
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