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Citizens Against Litter

August 2009 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; A good guy moves on; Illegal Dump Survey released; Pick one; Saturday at Arsenal Park; Sunday on the South Side; Mayor on CNBC; September G-20 Month; Volunteers for G-20; Redd Up right; Big picture; Sheraden and Knoxville "counciled"; "Blight to Beautiful" launches; Think Green. Think Redd; Adopt-A-Neighbor; Pitt Makes A Difference; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Halket Street gets attention; Important phone numbers; Nominate a Redd Up star; Newsletter fan; Butts; Another country heard from

Our mission

Our mission is to inspire people throughout the city and region to collect litter and connect neighborhoods.

A good guy moves on

Public Works Director Guy Costa is no friend of litter but he's been our friend. As a volunteer group, Citizens Against Litter -- 10,000 of us at peak times -- works because of Guy's leadership of the Public Works Department. We pick up litter in the city's 89 neighborhoods. Public Works carts it off. Litter picker-uppers lose a good man when Guy moves on. Thanks Guy, we couldn't have come this far without you.

Illegal Dump Survey released

There are 279 illegal dump sites with 676 tons of waste in Pittsburgh. They are identified by neighborhood. Contents are identified too (like numbers of tires, white goods, TVs, vehicle parts). PA CleanWays compiled the survey for 37 counties in the state where there are 4,159 sites containing an estimated 15,000 tons of trash.

Completed surveys can be found at the PA Cleanways site.

Pick One

I tested and lost. Two days before -- under a bench at the corner of Filbert and Walnut in Shadyside -- I noticed an empty beer bottle and a ball of aluminum foil, probably wrappings from a hot dog. The bottle and foil, now officially classified as litter, were still there when I returned. I removed a dollar from my pocket and placed it under the bottle and left. One of those $1,200 waste containers was around the corner about 25 feet away. I would've bet my $20 picker-upper that the next day the dollar, the bottle and the foil all would be gone. I lost. The picker-upper (he or she) picked up the buck but not the litter. Incentives don't always work either.

Saturday at Arsenal Park

Matthew Kelso, a resident of Lawrenceville, invited neighbors in a Post-Gazette editorial to join him for the "First Annual Bag in the Burgh Day" at Arsenal Park Saturday, July 25. Mr. Litterman was there. I didn't see anyone else except Matthew and his infant daughter. Shame. A tip for others with the same idea. Contact a few neighbors directly and don't rely solely on the power of the press. Mr. Letterman spent a little more than an hour in the park. Arsenal is well maintained. Hats off to the neighborhood. Still there was enough litter there to collect five supermarket bags of litter.

Sunday on the South Side

"I would like to thank all the volunteers who came out Sunday, July 12. What an incredible crew! We even picked up a new person as we were gathering at the parking lot. To recap.

"We had 11 volunteers which are a new record and a great accomplishment after only three outings. We covered more ground than ever, hitting side streets and alleys between 17th and 21st on both sides of Carson. We did it all in just 2 hours. I lost count of the number of bags of trash and recycling that we gathered but there was a lot!

"I think this might be the best part. Three of our volunteers were given $5 each by an appreciative resident! He absolutely insisted they take the money, which is incredibly generous. Thank you random man!

"We've decided to start a pool with the 15 bucks of "seed money" to purchase a Green N'at wagon that can be used every time we go out. This is a great opportunity to begin brainstorming ideas how to raise a little more money. Should we look into sponsorship? Should we go door-to-door for a buck here or there?

"I am so proud of everyone. Aside from the occasional, 'Let the City pick up that stuff!', I have heard nothing but positive feedback about what our group has done so far. And I am so pleased that every time we go out, we have one or two more people on the street than we did before."

Terra Youngblood

Mayor on CNBC

Mayor Ravenstahl was a guest on CNBC Tuesday morning, July 14, talking about Pittsburgh hosting the G-20 Summit. "Pittsburgh: one of the Top 10 Cleanest Cities in America" was flashed on the screen, seen by a national audience.

September G-20 Month

The mayor has proclaimed September "Pittsburgh G-20 Month". That's our invitation to Redd Up.

Volunteers for G-20

If you want to volunteer to make our city shine for the G-20 go to and sign up for the neighborhood you want to help clean and beautify or contact

Redd Up right

The headline of a Post-Gazette editorial on Saturday, July 18 is right on. What we do to eliminate eyesores and litter/trash problems as we put on our best face for the G-20 Summit has to be done properly. This is something we can do and the White House can't.

Things like: "Main Street" merchants in neighborhoods cleaning their sidewalks and street gutters from September 21 through September 25; removing litter/trash from heavily-traffic roads that require lane closures like Bigelow Boulevard, Crosstown, McArdle Roadway, Liberty Bridge approaches; and doing the same at the West End Circle and Highland Park Bridge interchange. We're "the City of Bridges" so all the bridges should get star treatment. Busy streets like Forbes, Fifth, Penn, East and West Carson, East Ohio have to be addressed. The city and county should coordinate and cooperate with PennDOT and Adopt-A-Highway sponsors to clean Routes 376, 279 and 79. The sides of roads and hillsides of these routes are covered with litter.

Citizens Against Litter is contacting Clean Pittsburgh Stewards in all 89 city neighborhoods to call out their volunteers and Redd Up G-20 Week, especially main streets, business places and popular visitor attractions like the North Shore, Strip District, Mt. Washington, Elliott, South Side, Shadyside, Uptown new arena construction site and Oakland.

Big picture

"The wide-angle effort you want to make for the G-20 is a good idea. Delegates will be spread out in their lodging. They'll see much more than the Downtown area. Good thinking!"

Frederic B. Sargent

Sheraden and Knoxville "counciled"

Hats off to City Council members Theresa Smith and Bruce Kraus. They and their staff people spearheaded community support for neighborhood litter/trash cleanups in Sheraden and Knoxville. Volunteers within the community and outside responded. Council people were hands on. Public Works was there too. We need more of this.

"Blight to Beautiful" launches

That's the name of a project spearheaded by Uptown Partners, Duquesne University and Pennsylvania Resources Council on the Fifth Avenue side of the Birmingham Bridge. Efforts are underway to spruce up that unattractive corner with litter-control, clearing, plantings and signage. The partners are talking about a makeover for a more appealing "Gateway to the Hill". The city's Green Up Initiative and American Eagle are the early funders. The project was announced in the Post-Gazette July 2.

Think Green. Think Redd

The hot colors today are green and redd. Green is the way to think these days. Some call it the 4R's -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Keep thinking Redd too. Pittsburghers are on a roll redding up their neighborhoods. They do it in a big way in April and October. We encourage residents to make Redd Up a daily thing.


Citizens Against Litter recommends a new painless Redd Up initiative. You can do this day in and day out.

Individuals are not likely to Adopt-A-Highway. That's left to businesses and groups and many of them do it and it's effective. However, "Adopting a Neighbor" should be right up your alley. It's do-able. Look to your right, look to your left or look up or down your street. I'm recommending you cross property lines. At the same time you're redding up your own property, you go the extra few steps and pick up your neighbor's litter. That kind of redding up will make your place look twice as good. Your neighbor will appreciate it, and guess what? He/she will probably do the same for you.

Pitt Make A Difference Day

The second "Pitt Make A Difference Day" promises to have a huge impact on city neighborhoods and Allegheny County communities participating in the Redd Up on Saturday, October 17. As many as 2,400 student volunteers are expected to take part in Pitt's day of community service. They will join residents and swell participation to a projected 10,000 volunteers. "Our plans are to bring a busload of 44 volunteers to each neighborhood," said Terry Milani, Director of Student Outreach. "Our kids loved the interaction with residents last year. Neighborhoods told us we made a difference."

Most of these communities (and areas) have confirmed their participation:

Allentown, Arlington, Banksville Road, Beechview, Beltzhoover, Brookline, California-Kirkbride, Carrick, East Liberty, Esplen, Fineview, Eliza Furnace Bike Trail (along 2nd Avenue), Friendship, Garfield, Hays (with Lincoln Place and New Homestead), Hazelwood, Hill District, Homewood (with North Point Breeze), Larimer, Lawrenceville, Knoxville, Manchester, Mt. Oliver, Central North Side (with Mexican War Streets), Mount Washington (with Duquesne Heights), Oakland, Perry Hilltop, Polish Hill, Shadyside, Sheraden, Strip District, Stanton Heights, South Side Flats, Spring Garden Summer Hill, Aspinwall, Dormont, Etna, Homestead, McKees Rocks, Sharpsburg, Penn Hills, West Homestead, Wilkinsburg and Wilkins.

More communities may be added. Contact Or call 412-688-9120.

"I Litter" awards

Advertising flyers become litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. These businesses are responsible and put their business on Shadyside streets. Under a new pending litter law they would be fined IF CITED.


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

Halket Street gets attention

Speaking of Garbagevilles. Halket Street in Oakland from Panera's on the Boulevard of the Allies to Magee Hospital entrance and beyond has littered sidewalks and gutters. The street gets a lot of foot traffic. It's a shame residents have to deal with the litter. Well, they really don't...that's why Mr. Litterman pulled his picket-upper, gloves and bags from his car and spent about an hour picking up a half dozen bags. Halket Street was litter-free July 21.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that's 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.

Nominate a Redd Up star

Last March the Clean Pittsburgh Commission honored outstanding city neighborhood volunteers for their community service in Redd Ups and their year 'round anti-litter activities. They received Bob Awards, named for our late Mayor Bob O'Connor. Tell us about deserving volunteers in your neighborhood for consideration to receive 2010 "Bobbies." E-mail

Newslitter fan

"I love the latest Newslitter: Garbagevilles and Redd Up stars go on our list of ways to promote a clean-up program here in Wilmington, DE. Slow going, but we have new leadership in our neighborhood associations, so I'm feeling hopeful today."

Steph in Bidenland


If it's true 20 per cent of Pittsburghers smoke that means about 60,000 people here, smoking an average of ten cigarettes a day and littering our streets with 600,000 butts. Too high? Cut the estimate in half to 300,000. Happy now? Butts and discarded packs/boxes are why we have a growing litter problem.

Another country heard from

"Dear Mr. Weinstein, I was on the internet searching out anti litter info or anti litter campaigns, keyed in a new search words "anti litter crusaders" and came across articles related to the wonderful contributions you have made!

"My name is Canada Litter King, a legal name change made in Canada many years ago as my heart decided I wanted to dedicate my life towards being dedicated against litter proliferation!

"I have test driven an approach in Canada that has (had a) promising effect to reduce littering. It's more to do with marketing when it comes to reducing litter than any other reduction form.

"I used to be one of the people who would go out gathering litter as (simply dressed in work-like clothing, wearing a safety vest, carrying a plastic bag to place my found litter).

"During litter clean up (90% volunteer) I would often ponder what the public perceives us litter pickers. Did they think I was a convict doing community work? Mainly I used to have the view (talk about being considered a community taken for granted service!)

"I decided maybe a change of what the public witnesses or perceives would be in order.

"Let's try this litter clean up dressed as a King, throw in a Patriotic look, no more plastic bag to place that litter (let's make a mobile singing talking trash bin on wheels complete with hidden stereo system in it) and let's turn litter clean up into an entertaining show of environmental dedication with great creativity, And so I did! Effect was being featured on National News as Success Story...and now I want to unite with people like you, and see if this method can be compounded!

"My theory is this (if you can produce a means of clean up that harnesses both media attention and public witnessed attention, corporations may just view being far greater involved as a new means of marketing used by them!).

"Please contact me, I would like to share some anti litter food for thought. I now live in Georgia USA and just prefer being called Litter King. Perhaps I can share where the name Litter King was discovered and how?"

Canada Litter King

Recent Litter-ature

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

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