Baltimore’s favorite trash wheel has it all: a daily diet of litter, a namesake beer from Peabody Heights Brewery, and now, a not-so-secret national society dedicated to ridding the world of trash.
Inspired by Mr. Trash Wheel—the downtown water wheel that captures debris from the Jones Falls River—and its thousands of internet fans, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore has launched a social media campaign to muster grassroots environmental action. This March, with the help of grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Order of the Wheel was born.
The exclusive club comes with a fictional centuries-old backstory and benefits like a secret handshake, special merchandise, and quirky code names such as Garbage McTrashface and Barnacle Churnerton. But joining is not so easy; applicants have to be selected by a board of “Great Grand Wheelers” to become a pledge. Then, pledges have to complete five assigned tasks—like decorating oil receptacles and purging plasticware—and share their completed missions on social media with the hashtag #OrderOfTheWheel to be inducted as an official member. So far, there are more than 1,600 people pledging across the U.S.
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