Company thinks huge to galvanize its image Recycler's new trash can challenges world record

November 26, 1998|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

Ah, Baltimore. Birthplace of Babe Ruth, Thurgood Marshall and the railroad. And now something equally gargantuan in stature, yet pedestrian in purpose: what might be the world's largest garbage can.

Standing 18 feet high and 12 feet in diameter with walls one-eighth-inch thick, this galvanized-steel trash can in South Baltimore has the Guinness Publication of World Records investigating whether it is the world's heftiest holder of garbage. Its owner, Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Co. (BRESCO), thinks it is.

BRESCO sent a request to the London-based Guinness last month to have its unused trash can deemed the largest. Vanessa Law, Guinness' communications officer, confirmed that the request was received and will be researched.

According to the 1997 Guinness Book of World Records -- trash cans are not listed in the 1999 edition -- the largest trash can was made by Natsales of Durban, South Africa in 1991. The can was 19 feet 9 inches high and had a capacity of 11,493 gallons. It was not known yesterday if Natsales will challenge BRESCO's can.

BRESCO's can has a capacity of 15,228.48 gallons -- 170 times larger than the standard 90-gallon can, said Hedy V. Alavi, a professor of environmental science at the Johns Hopkins University who measured the can. It can accommodate 6,000 turkeys, 500 kegs of The Raven lager, or 1,636 bushels of Maryland crabs.

"At first, we thought building it was too ridiculous," said Steven G. Tomczewski, BRESCO plant manager. "But, a lot of people don't really know what we do here, so this is a way to tell them."

BRESCO is a refuse-to-energy recycling facility in the 1800 block of Annapolis Road. Since opening in 1985, it has turned 10 million tons of refuse into 3.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 12 billion pounds of steam.

BRESCO's can, with two handles and lid -- sits in front of the facility.

"Having the trash can on one side and the energy sculpture on the other shows what we do," Tomczewski said. "We take waste that can't be recycled and turn it into energy."

Tomczewski came up with the idea for the can while looking for ways to celebrate BRESCO's 11th annual Garbageman Appreciation Day, Oct. 22. Six employees took about four days to construct the can, using materials supplied by B&W Fabricating in Baltimore.

In total, 2,500 pounds of steel were used at a cost of $3,500, said B&W's Jim Shifrin.

David W. Czawlytko, BRESCO's director of environmental, safety and health compliance, said company officials aren't sure what the can will be used for.

"If you filled it with trash, there would be no way to empty it," Czawlytko said.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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