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Citizens Against Litter

June 2012 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Don't Trash My Turf; Start in Shadyside; What's the plan?; Serious about litter?; "Caught Doing Good"; Free computer & electronic recycling June 2; Paddlers unite June 9; Polish Hill volunteers; Oakland: story of love, pride & redding up; Adopt a Redd Up Zone; Stamp out mailbox graffiti; Don't forget River Sweep; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Next to last word; The last word

Our mission

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

Don't Trash My Turf

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the "Don't Trash My Turf" litter awareness campaign last month. TV and radio commercials featuring the Mayor, Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and disc jockey Bubba also started last month. The campaign is funded by Colcom Foundation. The Mayor and Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith promise greater city-wide enforcement of existing litter laws against individual litterers, retail businesses, illegal dumping and others and greater participation of the Public Safety Department, Bureau of Building Inspection and magistrates.

For more information, visit the Don't Trash My Turf website.

Start in Shadyside

If you're looking for a specific place to start, consider the block of Centre Avenue between Aiken Avenue and South Graham Street in Shadyside. It is one of the most littered areas in the neighborhood. Mr. Litterman recently clean-swept the area but it's already littered with fresh stuff. Here's the lay of the land. There are plenty of individuals, property owners and retailers to cite if the city is serious about enforcement. Litter is rampant on sidewalks, church lawns, streets and gutters. Sweeping sidewalks and picking up gutter trash by property owners and shopkeepers are distant thoughts. Trash also collects in grates around street trees. On one side of the street are the Arlington Apartments storefronts (CDL Nuclear Technologies and Dean of Shadyside Salon/Spa), Panera Bread, Sherwin-Williams, Subway, Minuteman Press, Shadyside Nail Salon, and Pizza Palermo. On the other side are First United Methodist Church, PAT bus shelter (with waste container), Wendy's and Albright Community United Methodist Church.

What's the plan?

A want-to-be-a believer in Regent Square asks that in her recent letter to the editor in the Post-Gazette.

I've been picking up litter along Braddock Ave. from Sanders St. to Forbes Ave. and along Forbes St. from Braddock to Shady Ave. for 11 years. The volume of trash dropped on our streets daily is astounding. I'm fascinated to read that we have a new campaign in the city to curb litterers, but I'm a bit unclear about how it will work. (City vows to Get Tough on Littering, May 19).

In this country the police can't order pedestrians to produce their identity papers so I'm wondering how an officer can write a ticket when he doesn't know whose name to put on it. If it works, though, I'm for it. If I see any effect on the litter in my corner of the city, I'll be sure to let you know.

Serious about litter?

A second letter to the editor from a former Pittsburgher commenting on the city's anti-litter program on a visit here asked the question:

A $15 fine -- really, are you kidding me? My husband recently received a ticket in South Carolina for throwing out a cigarette butt. They did not give warnings for littering. The fine was $470: county $200, the state doubles that to $400 and $70 for court costs. Plus he had to appear in court and also had 15 hours of community service at the landfill. Because of his age he was permitted to pay for the community service at $5 an hour for an additional $75.

It was an expensive lesson. If you truly want to clean up the city, enforce the littering law and raise the fine.

"Caught Doing Good"

Brooke Fornalczyk of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership writes:

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's Clean Team does a super job keeping Downtown clean and inviting. However, it's hard to clean up every single piece of litter that hits the ground, and the occasional litter bug can make Downtown sidewalks, alleyways and parks unsightly for our workers, residents and visitors. As part of its Super Clean Program, the PDP quietly rolled-out a "Caught Doing Good" campaign, to acknowledge and promote people properly disposing of garbage, litter and cigarette butts in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Select PDP Clean Team and staff members are on the lookout for pedestrians doing their part to help keep the Downtown neighborhood clean and vibrant. It can be as little as someone picking up newspaper from the ground and throwing it away or properly extinguishing a cigarette in one of the many cigarette urns placed on garbage cans. When someone is "caught doing good", they are approached by a PDP Clean Team, thanked for helping to keep Downtown clean, and presented with a card good for a free medium coffee or $1.50 off any item at Downtown Crazy Mocha locations -- all for just doing the right thing!

So, next time you're strolling through Downtown and notice a piece of litter at your feet, pick it up and throw it away. Your small gesture helps out the PDP Clean Team in their daily cleaning efforts. just never know who will be watching!

Free computer & electronic recycling June 2

The date: Saturday, June 2. 10 a.m to 3 p.m. The place: Liberty School at Ellsworth and Ivy in Shadyside. Accepted items: everything under the sun.

Paddlers Unite June 9

Paddle Without Pollution has scheduled its second cleanup of Pittsburgh's three rivers Saturday, June 9. Last year the group collected 73 bags of litter and larger items (almost a ton). This time the goal is 100 canoes and kayaks on the three rivers. The group has eight two-person canoes on loan. Register at the Paddle Without Pollution website or by emailing

Polish Hill volunteers

Love Your Block workday is Saturday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Polish Hill Civic Association got a Love Your Block grant from the city, and this is the first workday to start clearing. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Gloves and tools will be provided; water and snacks too. Meet at the end of Melwood Avenue under the Bloomfield Bridge.

Oakland: story of love, pride and redding up

From the May 2012 issue of the servePGH newsletter:

In Fall 2011, Mayor Ravenstahl launched Redd Up Zone, an adopt-a-block program that allows organizations and businesses to take care of a 1/2-mile zone of City streets over two years. Since then, nearly 40 organizations have committed to redding up their neighborhoods at least four times each year, receiving signage along their zones and cleanup supplies. We couldn't be more impressed by the energy and enthusiasm Pittsburgh residents have devoted to the program.

When Pitt graduate student and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation's former Keep It Clean, Oakland! (KICO!) coordinator Sam Su heard about Redd Up Zone, he didn't adopt one. Instead, he recruited fifteen University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University student groups to adopt their own zones, blanketing Oakland with litter-free streets. "Many students have dedicated countless hours toward maintaining Oakland's beauty," said Su. "This year, 27 student organizations participated in KICO!'s Adopt-A-Block, and 15 of those 27 groups made a two-year commitment to the Mayor's Redd Up Zone. I'm really proud to be a part of a program that can make such a big impact on our community.

College students may have a reputation for being litterbugs, but these proud Panthers and Tartans are revitalizing their neighborhoods and showing their love for Pittsburgh: Asian Leadership Program, Bachelor's of Art in Social Work Club, CMU's Alpha Phi Omega Kappa Chapter, Delta Chi, Delta Sigma Pi, Gamma Sigma Sigma, National Residence Hall Honorary, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Pitt Biology Club, Pitt Circle K, Sigma Beta Rho, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Phi Alpha, Pitt Tri Beta and Zeta Sigma Chi.

Adopt a Redd Up Zone

Don't sit on the sidelines. Businesses, corporations and groups are invited to adopt their own Pittsburgh street or zone and agree to pick up litter at least four times a year for two years. Visit the servePGH website for information and an application form.

Stamp out mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postmaster Joseph Meimann urges citizens to be proactive and call the Postal Service directly at 412-359-7845 to report mailbox tagging or boxes in need of repair. Help the postal service by giving them specific information of locations and crossing streets.

Don't forget River Sweep

The Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission is seeking volunteers for its annual River Sweep 2012 river bank trash cleanup June 16 along the length of the Ohio River and its tributaries in Western Pennsylvania. Information: 1-800-359-3977 or

"I Litter" awards

Advertising and promotional materials turn into litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. Businesses and sometimes non-profits are often responsible when they put their business on Shadyside streets. May's list is short: Post-Gazette's Sunday Extra.


Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets and places that are a mess. Some because of litter; some because of unswept leaves; some because of trash and junk on their property. Some because garbage cans sit in the front of their houses. Many because of the absence of lids on garbage cans and open waste containers. Some of these Shadyside garbagevilles are always a mess. This is an incomplete list of course.

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.

Next to last word

There's enough litter for all of us to pick up.

The last word

Remember. Rome wasn't redd up in a day either.

Recent Litter-ature

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

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