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Citizens Against Litter

August 2008 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Graffiti gaffe; Kosovo film update; October 10-12 Redd Up; Pitt to make a difference; We want to hear from stewards; Waste-full correction; Buck-A-Bag; Carrick characters; The other Buster; Renew Pittsburgh; North Side clean up; East End neighborhoods partnering; North Side underpasses; Helping brains; Eyesores; New paving; same old litter; A funny incident; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Tear-o-rists on a tear; Lit Parade; Important phone numbers; We want volunteers; Whirl 'round the world; From The Green Book

Our mission

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

Graffiti gaffe

I wish he would have but he didn't. I was in the courtroom last week when the country's most active graffiti criminal, Daniel Montano, was sentenced to prison for 2 1/2 to 5 years. He could have told the judge (and maybe it would have helped in his sentencing) that he'll spend the rest of his life lecturing other graffiti and would-be graffiti criminals to change their ways and avoid a life of crime and possible prison time.

Kosovo film update

"It's in the works," e-mails Jay Richter of the U.S. State Department. Jay is in touch with the Kosovo people and "It won't be long now," he says. Journalists from a Kosovo public TV station visited Pittsburgh this spring at the suggestion of the State Department to document how Pittsburgh and three other American cities handle litter, recycling and pollution. They're exporting our expertise, volunteerism and enthusiasm.

October 10-12 Redd Up

Pittsburgh Neighborhood Clean Pittsburgh Stewards and other community leaders in the area are asked to sign up now for the October Redd Up. Please e-mail,, or call 412-688-9120.

Pitt to make a difference

Pitt students will partner with Citizens Against Litter for this fall's Redd Up in October. Pitt is introducing "Pitt Make A Difference Day" Saturday, October 18, as a major community service event.

Terry Milani, Director of Pitt Student Volunteer Outreach, and LaTrenda Leonard, Pitt site coordinator, are our contacts. Clean Pittsburgh Stewards are being contacted and offered the services of dozens of volunteers for their neighborhood cleanups.

"This is a huge step forward to bring Pitt students as volunteers into neighborhoods beyond Oakland. Many of them will be in parts of the city for the first time," said Boris Weinstein. "This is another reason Pittsburgh is becoming one of the cleanest cities in America."

We want to hear from stewards

Attention stewards: You may be able to share in the availability of Pitt Make A Difference Day volunteers to join your neighbors for October Redd Ups. Contact,, or call 412-688-9120.

Waste-full correction

Thanks to Councilman Bill Peduto's Office and Public Works, a second weekly waste container pickup on Walnut Street has been added during the summer. This will eliminate waste container overflow and make it easier for good citizens walking and playing on Walnut to discard stuff before it becomes litter.


The Redd Up Coalition in Squirrel Hill, Homewood and Point Breeze has scheduled its second Community Seder April 1, 2009. It's an outgrowth of the "Collect Litter and Connect Neighborhoods" initiative started more than two years ago. Last year 130 people attended the dinner in Homewood. Next year it will be held in Squirrel Hill for probably 250 people.

One of the fundraising plans for the dinner is a Buck-A-Bag campaign to collect a dollar from local businesses and individuals for the 2,500 bags of litter (25 tons) that will be picked up in the three neighborhoods during this fall's October Redd Up. Meetings with businesses started last month and response has been good. Contact or 412-688-9120 for information.

Carrick characters

"Carrick Litter Patrol had a mini clean up at the end of June and it was a big success" reported Dawn Harder, Clean Pittsburgh Steward. "I put out a call for help on a Wednesday and by Saturday morning, 11 people showed up to clean half of Brownsville Road on Sunday at 5 p.m. Six more people came out in the rain, but it got nasty so we stopped. Five of us tried again on Monday. Rain again. But Tuesday was 'our friend' and the second half of Brownsville Rd was cleaned. On Sunday night, nine volunteers met at a bar to watch a local Carrick band play music and socialize. Because of the rain we did not 'crawl,' but we plan to in the future. We want to work out something with the bars like volunteers bringing in trash for a drink. This may boost their business and clean the streets. Win win.

"In Carrick, some people think we're either being paid or punished to pick up litter.. When we say we care about Carrick and volunteer they are amazed, thrilled, thank us and, sometimes, think we're nuts. Almost always, though, we get a thanks and a big smile."

The other Buster

There's a new Buster in town. It's Buster the Recycling Raccoon, the mascot of the City's Recycling Division. Consider Buster for cleanup events. Recycling will gladly make the costume available for special events when they have staff and/or volunteer (ages 7-11). Contact Shawn Wigel at 412-255-2631.

Renew Pittsburgh

Renew Pittsburgh is a new "all-volunteer, non-partisan organization to promote renewing Pittsburgh from within." Volunteers came to Brookline on June 28 for a day of service.

Renew Pittsburgh Executive Director Kevin Acklin said, "We held our first event in Brookline, a great Pittsburgh neighborhood. Joined by several volunteers from Brookline and from around the City, we cleaned up Brookline Park, picked up garbage along Brookline Boulevard, handled several home projects for several elderly neighbors around Brookline, and repainted the benches and iron fence surrounding the historic cannon war memorial. I want to thank the good people of Brookline for their hospitality and for helping our efforts to volunteer in such a great Pittsburgh neighborhood!"

Neighborhood folks reported that a lot of work got done that day. Thanks to Renew Pittsburgh for the help.

Renew Pittsburgh projects continued all month in Sheridan, Elliott, Hazelwood, Lincoln Place, North Side, Mt. Troy, Carrick and Overbrook. A membership event last month netted the group about 100 volunteers.

North Side clean up

"Saturday, August 2 at 10 a.m. we are having our First Saturdays clean up day. Additionally, Renew Pittsburgh volunteers are coming to help restore the planting around the Thomas Armstrong statue in Allegheny Commons that faces Ohio Street. They will be weeding, edging, and mulching the garden.

"We will be mulching the path in Drovers Garden (North Taylor and Brighton Road), picking up litter, weed whacking, and sweeping throughout the neighborhood. Because of all of the projects we could use extra volunteers this month.

"Volunteers are asked to meet at Mechanic's Retreat Park at the intersection of Buena Vista Street and Jacksonia Street. Coffee, tea, and water will be provided along with bags and gloves. If you can give 10 minutes or a couple of hours, we can use you."

John Engle

(Note: Other clean up days are September 13 and October 4)

East End neighborhoods partnering

Five East End neighborhoods -- with Penn Avenue in common -- are coming together in a "loose alliance" to make progress in development, improvements and matters to do with clean and safe. The neighborhoods are Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Garfield, Friendship and East Liberty. Known as the East End Partnership, its director is Jonathan Cox, formerly with the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership.

North Side underpasses

Many teenagers were in the mix big time when North Siders tackled litter, trash and weed cleanup of the Anderson Street underpass last month. The cleanup was an early step in Mayor Ravenstahl's plan for new sidewalks, curbs, lighting, painting and landscaping for Anderson Street and other underpasses on the North Side at costs in the millions.

Teenagers and younger kids in growing numbers are becoming the majority in many of the area's on-going and one-time cleanups. Good for them. We need them and hope they bring mom and dad and grandma and grandpa along.

Helping brains

Lucky for Citizens Against Litter. Two former business associates, Tom Rooney and Mark DeAndrea, are supplying brain power as advisors to our volunteer group. More on this as programs come together.


Some readers liked the idea of alerting us to eyesores around the city. Browns Hill in Squirrel Hill, Washington Boulevard in the East End, and Ella Street in Bloomfield. Some action has been taken. Please tell us about more other Eyesores with details:

New paving; same old litter

Walnut Street, Bellefonte Street and other streets off Walnut are getting new paving. It doesn't impress our local "cool" litterers that much who go right on doing their thing, tossing off empty coffee cups, bottles, cans, cigarette packs and butts, etc. It's hard to win sometimes.

A funny incident

Volunteer Jake Krohn writes, "Early one Saturday morning, I set out with broom and dustpan in hand to sweep along the Negley Avenue bridge and at the bus stop near the Negley Avenue entrance to the Giant Eagle parking garage, both sites of heavy cigarette butt litter."

"I was making good progress when I heard yelling from across the street. I looked up and saw a middle-aged man, shouting at me! He asked why I was sweeping, and I told him that I think the city is dirty and that I hated walking by this mess every day."

"Either he didn't like this answer, or he just couldn't comprehend someone doing a good deed for the city. He ordered me to stop sweeping. When I declined, he just yelled louder. We went back and forth for a while, he not understanding my altruism and I not understanding his anger."

"He eventually stormed off and I finished sweeping without further incident. It's funny, and a bit sad, that someone would take offense to such an act. There may be an element of implied shame in what we as volunteers do -- 'we pick up for those who don't' -- but this is the first time I encountered such a violent reaction. If I got under his skin and triggered a sense of guilt, good. Perhaps there will be one less litterer walking the streets from now on."

"I Litter" awards

The list for Shadyside grows as the weather heats up. Advertising flyers become litter. These businesses are responsible and put their business on our streets.

Soon, thanks to the city council, these businesses may face more dire consequences for their careless ways than just appearing in our infamous list.


Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets, alleys and places that look awful because of litter, garbage, upswept leaves, cigarette butts and other stuff. Here are some.

Tear-o-rists on a tear

Next to litterers who are among the worst are tear-o-rists. They tear stuff into many little pieces that take forever to get off the street.

Lit Parade

Leading the "Lit Parade" in Shadyside are: plastic drinking bottles, napkins, parking receipts, ATM receipts, cups, lids and straws, cigarette packs and, of course, cigarette butts.

Special mention must be made of Wendy's and Subway. Without their careless customers' constant stream of bright yellow drinking cups and paper sandwich wrappers, Centre Avenue would be a transformed place.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that has been bothering you, like potholes and graffiti? Call the 311 Response line (alternate number is 412-255-2621). Your request will be logged and sent to the proper department. Want to contact someone directly? The following list may help.

We want volunteers

Volunteers are wanted. The work is light. Hours are your own. No meetings. No dues. No money. Payoff: clean streets and community pride. Please contact or call 412-688-9120.

Whirl 'round the world

Ottawa's been doing fall and spring cleanups for years and attracts 60,000 volunteers to rid hundreds of places like parks, waterfronts and neighborhoods of litter.

In Toronto, one of the world's cleanest cities, imagine seeing a man on a subway escalator accidentally dropping a small wad of paper from his pocket and then picking it up...Trash buckets are separated into litter, recycled newspapers and recycled bottled and cans...And when trash overflows, you see empty coffee cups placed neatly on top of containers.

Litter facts from Minneapolis. 80% of all litter is done by males...Food and beverage packaging constitutes over 50% of roadside litter...Litter convictions are misdemeanors on offenders' driving records. Second offenses require a minimum fine of $400 and maximum of $700. A judge may require the offender to pick up litter along public roads or impose a jail sentence.

From The Green Book

Try to use fewer paper napkins. Each American consumes an average of 2,200 napkins per year, or about 6 napkins per day. If each of us used just 1 fewer per day, it would save about 150 million of them from the trash -- enough to provide a napkin to every person who eats a hot dog on July 4. (Napkins are among the top 10 litter items in Shadyside.)

Recent Litter-ature

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

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