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Citizens Against Litter

November 2007 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Our mission; Newslitter offspring on its way; Blighted property action; Thanks for giving; Call it "Earth Against Litter"; Read Redd Up results; Valuable volunteer time; "Seen", litter edition; Behind the scene; Clearly not seen; Neighborhood champions; Greensweep teams with Redd Up; Kids Against Litter; Aspinwall students against litter; Beechview cleanup planned; "I Litter" awards; Color litter yellow; What a difference I; What a difference II; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Like finding money... almost; Tell Mr. Litterman

Our mission

To inspire people throughout the city and region to collect litter and connect neighborhoods.

Newslitter offspring on its way

All we'll say for now is "It's in the works." It's a small thing and we think it'll be powerful.

Blighted property action

We've been asked by Theresa Smith of Westwood to circulate this:

"As you may know, Councilman Dan Deasy has introduced a bill to abolish absentee landlords in Pittsburgh. Please forward the following email link and ask folks to contact City Council members to support Councilman Deasy's rental property bill. In addition, if you know folks in the other districts, please ask them to call or email council members.

"Absentee landlords have blighted Pittsburgh for too long and we need to put an end to it. We understand there are great landlords and we are grateful to them. However, from what I understand, good property owners will only need to pay an additional $5 per month, but absentee landlords can pay over $300 for each blighted property. If you have any questions, please call, Councilman Deasy's office, 412-255-8963."

Thanks for giving

Thanks to everyone who participated in the October Redd Up. Volunteers picked up tons of litter. Public Works collected it. Pittsburgh Public Schools, parochial and private schools accounted for about 60% of the volunteers. Allegheny CleanWays and PA Resources Inc. provided gloves, bags and other supplies. Pittsburgh Cares, Kiwanians and The Academy provided volunteers to some neighborhoods. Results follow. We had a clean getaway for this first big one.

Call it "Earth Against Litter"

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22. Please circle April 18-20, 2008 on your calendar. These are the dates for the spring Redd Up. A third grade student suggested a great name: "Earth Against Litter." It fits perfectly for this special weekend. Neighborhoods responding in our Results Survey say they'll participate in the spring. Citizens Against Litter has already started organizing support of city neighborhoods (over 60 and counting). Citizens will make an aggressive push for more participation in Allegheny and Beaver counties.

Read Redd Up results

Two weeks after the big Redd Up we're still gathering reports from neighborhoods. However, we have enough data to relate a G-Littering story. Less than 10 announced neighborhoods did not have Redd Ups for one reason or another. We had 100 neighborhoods and communities in Allegheny and Beaver counties that did. Approximately 5,500 to 6,000 participated, about 3,500 school kids and 2,000 to 2,500 adults. From actual reports and projections and with Public Works' experience in these things, we estimate volunteers picked up between 3,200 and 4,000 large bags that translate into 25 to 30 tons of everyday litter and trash. In a few neighborhoods only two and three volunteers picked up. Contrast that to hundreds that turned out in Homewood, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside.

Valuable volunteer time

We're told a volunteer's time is valued at $18.06 an hour. This means 5,500 to 6,000 volunteers devoted about $100,000 for one hour; $200,000 for two hours to Redd Up.

"Seen", litter edition

Mayor and Mrs. Ravenstahl munching hot dogs at the Redd Up Coalition picnic in Mellon Park....Councilmen Doug Shields, Bill Peduto and Dan Deasy shaking hands with one and picking up litter with the other....WTAE-TV's Kelly Frye picking up litter in Elliott and feeding volunteers at their spaghetti dinner after party.... Public Works trucks racing around the city, picking up litter bags almost as fast as volunteers tied them up....10 students from Akron University driving here to volunteer in Homewood...

Volunteers from Pittsburgh Cares, Kiwanian Clubs of PA, and The Academy in Carrick helping in a number of neighborhoods....In many places there was a party atmosphere side to the Redd Ups, resembling the Marathons and Great Races of the past....Average Joes and Janes having their own ball, turning streets of litter into G-Litter....A G-Litter Ball is in our sights. Maybe someday. It could raise money for neighborhood street-cleaning equipment...Word is Pittsburgh's neighborhood Redd Ups have caught the attention of the U.S. State Department. You heard it here first.

Behind the scene

That would be Jake Krohn, my fellow volunteer in Shadyside. He picks up litter. He leads and organizes. He processes this Newslittter. He designed and maintains the Citizens Against Litter web site. He maintains our photo gallery. He maps things. He tracks our tracks. He brought CMU and Oakmont into the big Redd Up. He makes communications with our volunteers and with 100 neighborhoods look easy.

Clearly not seen

In Shadyside we had a lot going different directions. There were Pitt law school students back for a second time. There was the gang from the Pittsburgh Trib -- known as "Trib Against Litter" -- back for a second time. They targeted the entire length of Centre Avenue. Walnut Street merchants and South Highland Ave merchants cleaned their places. The Chamber and Action Coalition made sure Shadyside was a showplace for the annual house tour. Kentucky Avenue School and Liberty School cleaned their campuses and beyond. Evidence of other Citizens Against Litter volunteers' work was clearly not seen. It was gone.

Neighborhood champions

"Neighborhood Champions" title goes to Homewood-Squirrel Hill-Point Breezes. This Redd Up Coalition attracted almost 900 volunteers, including students from 13 schools, for three days of picking up litter and for an after-cleanup picnic with hot dogs, hamburgers and music -- Found Sound and a samba band -- at Mellon Park.

Greensweep teams up with Redd Up

Beaver County's Project Greensweep joined forces with Redd Up Pittsburgh. Ten towns -- Ambridge, Beaver, Bridgewater, Chippewa, Center, Freedom, Midland, New Brighton, Rochester and Vanport -- attracted 150 volunteers who picked up more than 200 bags of litter. Beaver County's participation sends signals that Redd Up is now regional.

Kids Against Litter

Kentucky Avenue School in Shadyside picked up litter under a new moniker -- "Kids Against Litter." In October, 57 kids and 8 teachers hit the streets on Friday and set a nice tone for the weekend, collecting 19 bags of litter.

Aspinwall students against litter

In Aspinwall, it was the same. Students at Christ Divine Teacher Catholic Academy showed the way. Fifty-five students and 10 adult volunteers covered many streets and collected 8 bags of litter.

Beechview cleanup planned

Fresh on the heels of the October Redd Up comes another chance to make the city shine. According to the Post-Gazette, "Allegheny CleanWays needs volunteers Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon to help clear debris -- including more than 100 tires -- from the western portion of the Beechview-Seldom Seen Greenway near Route 51."

See the following websites for more information:

"I Litter" awards

Here's a list of businesses and non-profits that litter in Shadyside.

Color litter yellow

Two weeks ago in Shadyside we were hit with the annual invasion of yellow fever. Hundred and hundreds of yellow bags with Yellow Book phone directories were literally dumped on our sidewalks and probably on your sidewalks too. Instead of looking at litter-free streets, we were seeing yellow. Yellow fever carriers didn't even bother to toss books on porches or in entranceways. Days later, many bags and books were still on sidewalks. Then the rains came last week. Now, wet, unusable directories -- top-of-the-line litter -- sit on our sidewalks.

What a difference I

The multi-tenant house at 700 Ivy Street has cleaned up its act. This property on the corner of Ivy and Elmer looks very good with its freshly cut front and litter and loose garbage removed from its side, especially against the fence. The property sits across from Liberty School.

What a difference II

The Uni-Mart on the corner of Ellsworth and Summerlea has cleaned up its act as well. It took a letter to the home office. For the past few weeks it's very apparent that someone read someone the riot act. Please keep it up. The Uni-Mart corner looks so much better. You're off the Garbageville list.


For those who need reminded, Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets, alleys and places that look awful because of litter, garbage, upswept leaves, and other stuff. They're eyesores. Here are some this month. Most have been repeaters on the list for forever.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that has been bothering you? Call the 311 Response line (alternate number is 412-255-2620). Your request will be logged and sent to the proper department. Want to contact someone directly? The following list may help.

More telephone numbers are available on the city's web site.

Like finding money... almost

I found $10 while picking up litter last week. Someone else found $50 while he was picking up. You hear stories about people finding wallets. John Maggio of Dormont picked up a piece of litter while walking home. It wasn't money but it was valuable to someone.... a proof of car insurance form. John returned it personally to the very happy neighbor. See? Picking up pays.

Tell Mr. Litterman

"I will help 'Kids Against Litter'. I don't like people littering. That's why I'm helping. I will not litter at all, too," wrote a third grader at Kentucky Avenue School, after hearing a talk about litter. Is everyone listening?

Recent Litter-ature

A complete list of past Litterature is available in our archives.

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