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Citizens Against Litter

July 2005 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Anti-litter "blitz"; Walnut Street gets a "Billy Goat" vacuum sweeper; School flunks "clean"; passes "litter"; Streets lined with gold?; Retailer "I Litter" award; Litter hot spots; Beer garden; Deck the streets with playing cards; Pet peeve; Ask Mr. Litterman; "We're one of the dirtiest"

Anti-litter "blitz"

Litter volunteers have scheduled their first "pick up blitz" for Saturday, July 9, to pick up litter in places that don't get as much attention as they should. As many volunteers as are available should meet at Walnut and Maryland at 9:00 am.

Walnut Street gets a "Billy Goat" vacuum sweeper

The Shadyside Chamber of Commerce took delivery in June of an eight horsepower, walk-behind vacuum sweeper called "Billy Goat". With "Billy," the Walnut Street business district will be able to keep its streets litter-free.

"Billy" picks up dust, leaves, cigarette butts and paper cups.

Part of the cost of "Billy" was underwritten by donations from a number of Walnut Street businesses and property owners. The new vacuum is part of an ongoing effort to keep the popular hub of restaurants, shops, and galleries inviting to residents and visitors by controlling litter and encouraging recycling.

The cleaner streets will also help visitors feel welcome at Shadyside events this summer like Jams on Walnut, the Shadyside Sidewalk Sale and the Art Festival on Walnut.

School flunks "clean"; passes "litter"

Liberty School on Ellsworth Avenue gets two F's. One "F" is for litter, litter everywhere in the small kids' playground and in the fenced-in play yard. The drain around the play yard is filled with candy wrappers, beer bottles and cans, water bottles and drinking cups. Name it, it's there. The second "F" is for a beer can on the small kids' playground. That sends a great message: "Down the slide and have a beer". Clean up, guys and gals.

Streets lined with gold?

Don't believe it. Contrary to rumors that there's no money in trash, one litter volunteer reports his "take" from the street after four months is one quarter, two dimes and 10 pennies. Clear. If you're into anti-littering, it's not for the money.

Retailer "I Litter" award

This month's "I Litter" award goes to Vocelli's Pizza. Vocelli's promotion doorknocker hit the streets big time. Anti-litter volunteers pick pepperoni 2-to-1 over sausage.

Other "I Litter" awardees are Pizzutti's Restaurant, Bellefonte Street (June Calendar promoted with 5"x 8" flyers) and Prana Gallery, Strip District night stop (promoted with a 4" x 6" flyer).

Litter hot spots

These "Garbageville" sites are unsightly, smelly, and harmful to your health. Our list this month includes:

Every street gets its fair share of litter, but these may be among the hardest hit:

Beer garden

The house at 5804 Walnut Street is probably as ill kept inside as outside. But (I mean Bud), it does have a beer garden in the front yard. When one of our volunteers happened on it, there were about a dozen empty beer cans, drinking cups and an empty quarter keg sprinkling the Garden. Picture the scene. People on the porch guzzling and dropping beer cans over the side. On a return trip, there were "a half dozen empty cans on the wall..." This bunch gets our award for "Litterers of the Month".

Deck the streets with playing cards

By actual count, our anti-litter volunteer on Ellsworth Avenue picked up at least 52 pieces of litter. He was busy picking up kings and queens and some other jokers from a scattered deck of cards at the bus stop at South Graham. We realize there's no eating or drinking on PAT buses but playing poker, America's card game, is allowed. By the way, two weeks later and six blocks away, cards were still showing up.

Pet peeve

Litterers who aren't content to just litter, but the ones who tear up one piece of paper into 6-8 more pieces and toss them into the wind. Give us a break.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: What are the ills of smoking?
A: I believe the ills, in this order, are Death, Taxes and Cigarette Butts. Ciggies are everywhere. They're an anti-litterer's nightmare. The estimate of 60,000+ butts on Shadyside streets is probably accurate. They're hard to get rid of, too.

Q: Are you obsessive about litter?
A: Yes. Plastic shopping bag. I don't leave home without one.

"We're one of the dirtiest"

So says Reader's Digest that will print results of a survey in July. Pittsburgh ranks 48th among 50 metro areas. Commenting on the survey, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, "[Reader's Digest's] criteria didn't specifically include litter and general shabbiness -- which is a blight that almost everybody recognizes (including Bob O'Connor who has promised to do something about it if he wins)."

So you tell me, why wouldn't the Post-Gazette and the Tribune Review print the Citizens Against Litter letter to the editor (sent June 5) that compliments Shadyside residents for trying to make clean from dirty? Well, our self-serving newslitter will print the letter to the editor in its entirety:

June 5, 2005

Letter to the Editor
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Three and a half months ago the neglected littered streets of Shadyside started getting some attention from resident volunteers. I'm happy to report that our band of now 24 volunteers is making a difference. All of Shadyside is cleaner including much visited Walnut Street where merchants, Chamber members and volunteers are doing a super job.

I suspect that there are dozens of other Shadyside residents, not "official" volunteers, who have caught the litter bug and are picking up litter too. Citizens Against Litter hope that citizens in other neighborhoods will replicate our pilot program.

Some volunteers go out every day with picker uppers, plastic grocery bags and gloves. What we're doing doesn't take money. Not one penny has been spent. It's about people committing their time, hating dirty streets, gutters and sidewalks, showing neighborhood pride and picking up.

We've put out two newsletters with a mailing list of over 200. We'll have a web site,, within weeks. It's important that politicians, businesses, community advocates and citizens know that to many of us eliminating and controlling litter is a priority if we want Pittsburgh to be attractive to new industries, new and old residents. We want to help erase forever Pittsburgh's national reputation as a dirty city.

We need more volunteers and ask Shadyside residents to sign on by calling 412-688-9120 or e-mail

Boris Weinstein

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