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Citizens Against Litter

May 2009 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; In Scotland, they should say "Redd Up"; Esplen needs volunteers; Spring Redd Up was huge; Thanks for Stashing the Trash; Pirates/Earth Day Redd Up on the North Shore; Who do we appreciate?; Beechview students monthly cleanups; Mt. Lebanon PTA leads the way; Verona Adopt-A-Street works ; Adopt-A-Neighbor should work too; State of the City Report available; Pitt "Make A Difference Day" set; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Ask Mr. Litterman

Our mission

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

In Scotland, they should say "Redd Up"

Michelle McCallum of Community Green Initiatives, a volunteer group in Scotland, e-mails that Citizens Against Litter continues to be an inspiration to folks in Central Scotland and sends along a nice article that appeared last month in the Falkirk Herald.

When Redd Ups were mentioned to her, she asked, "What's a Redd Up"? Michelle was equally surprised when told Redd Up's origin can be traced from the 15th Century to the present, particularly in dialects of Scotland and the north of England. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the term" Redd" came to the American midlands from the Scottish immigrants who settled there. So if Redd Up should be used any other place else in the world to describe cleanup, it's in Scotland. I'm sure Pittsburghers will gladly give up their exclusive rights.

Esplen needs volunteers

"Esplen will have its Redd Up on Saturday, May 16 beginning at 9 a.m. We will clean from Edgecliff to Earl. With more volunteers," says Karen Kirchner, Esplen's Clean Pittsburgh Steward, "we will also do two lots on Sagamore Street. We'll meet at Betson on West Carson Street. We have 10 volunteers so far. We can use more. Please have groups or individuals contact me at or 412-331-4049."

Spring Redd Up was huge

When all is said and done, Citizens Against Litter tracked more than 200 Pittsburgh neighborhoods and communities in five counties as participants in spring Redd Ups in March, April and May. There were many more cleanups untracked. From reports received from 20 city neighborhoods, it is projected that about 10,000 adults and school kids were volunteers. Volunteers picked up over 100 tons of litter. Projections of the five-county total, based on over 200 cleanups: 17,000 to 20,000 volunteers who hauled away over 350 tons of litter, trash, tires and assorted items.

Largest reporting haulers: Monroeville (680 volunteers, 13 tons), Steel Valley (450 volunteers, 8 tons), Hill District-Uptown (300 volunteers, 9 tons), Collier (160 volunteers, 5.5 tons), Squirrel Hill (325 volunteers, 4 tons), Sheraden (50 volunteers, 2 tons), Oakdale (52 volunteers, 2 tons), South Side (125 volunteers, 1 ton).

Thanks for Stashing the Trash

More than 3,500 kids in 43 Pittsburgh schools picked up litter on their campuses Friday, April 24. The event is conducted by PA Resources Council in partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools and other schools.

Pirates/Earth Day Redd Up on the North Shore

Volunteers of Pittsburgh Job Corps, Academy System and Renew Pittsburgh teamed up with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Citizens Against Litter on Earth Day. They picked up litter from the one end to the other on the North Shore for a couple hours and then enjoyed the Pirates and Marlins game courtesy of the Bucs.

Who do we appreciate?

We appreciate the thousands of volunteers -- how about 17,000 to 20,000 of them -- who made time available to join neighborhood/community groups or went out on their own and picked up litter during spring Redd Ups. Their time, love of community and energy are worth a fortune.

Each hour of a volunteer's time is valued at $19, according to the Independent Sector, a non-profit, non-partisan coalition representing thousands of charitable groups. When a volunteer gives two hours of time to make his/her community cleaner, those efforts are worth a lot: over half a million dollars. But let's say you're not buying the $19 volunteer's value. Cut it to $10 and that's $360,000!

Beechview students in monthly cleanups

Our monthly pick-ups have been growing with 60 volunteers in April, including students from Beechwood Elementary and student council members from Brashear. We found a boat trailer, car hood, tires, bedroom set with mattresses, air conditioner, construction waste and a mountain of trash bags full of debris.

Zone 6 Police Commander Schubert has assigned a patrol car to our monthly pick-ups, allowing us to start cleaning busy through streets. These heavy traffic areas have typically been the most cluttered with litter. We are very thankful for his assistance.

Mt. Lebanon PTA leads Redd Up

"Over the weekends of April 17-18 and 24-25, PTA volunteers in the Mt Lebanon School District organized parents, students and neighbors to pick up litter, trash and debris in and around all of the district's 10 school buildings. In some cases, such as Foster Elementary, the cleanup effort was extended to areas outside the school zone and, in this case, the Connor Road corridor. The PTA's Environmental Concerns committee was the driving force behind this effort with the goal of empowering our children to a Greener future. The clean-up was done in conjunction with Redd Up campaign in Pittsburgh and the County campaign."

Rob Papke, one of the organizers

Verona Adopt-A-Street works

"We're getting real positive response about the April 25 clean up from the community, school and scout groups. We've typically just had a good core group that shows up every event a few times a year and that small group has always got a lot done. Hopefully this will be our biggest group effort so far.

"Some other good news in Verona is the borough has a good street sweeping machine again. That makes a difference. We also have an Adopt-A-Street program in place with about 2/3 of streets being picked up on a regular basis. We still have some problem areas, but our town is looking good.

"Verona is now part of the Allegheny Together Program. Hopefully that program will help our community find some funds to update and increase the number of trash receptacles in our downtown area.

"See for more information."

Luke Mattocks

Adopt-A-Neighbor should work too

Citizens Against Litter is recommending a new painless Redd Up initiative. One that you can do 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 and at the same time you're redding up your own property, you go the extra mile 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.

State of the City Report available

Clean Pittsburgh Commission issued its 2008 State of the City Report. The report details activities involving litter, illegal dumping, vacant lots and buildings, abandoned cars, graffiti, greening, fines and enforcement. You can access the report online at

Pitt "Make A Difference Day" set

It's a firm date. "Pitt Make A Difference Day" will be Saturday, October 17, coinciding with the dates of the Fall Redd Up, October 16-18. As many as 2,400 Pitt students may be involved. Citizens Against Litter is coordinating the Pitt effort with Terry Milani, Director of Student Volunteer Outreach at Pitt.

"I Litter" awards

Advertising flyers become litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. These businesses are responsible and put their business on Shadyside streets.


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.

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.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: What are the top ten pithy remarks/actions when someone drops a piece of litter in front of you?

A: My advice is full of "Don'ts". Many people today are hostile, angry and oblivious. You don't want to engage a stranger because you don't know their reaction to being confronted and criticized by a stranger -- in this case YOU.


Recent Litter-ature

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

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