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Citizens Against Litter

January 2013 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Trash talking in Brookline; Ted Turner picks up litter too; Spring Redd Up sprouting; Meet N' Greet Mixer March 21; "Love Your Block" grant deadline February 14; Caught in the act; Adopt a Redd Up Zone; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; 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 neighborhoods.

Trash talking in Brookline

The Brookline Sunday Trash Walkers have a few things to say:

Perhaps our experience on the Sunday Trash Walk in early November had to do with the unusually balmy weather. In addition to the usual walkers and motorists who stopped to thank us, we had two incidents that stood out that day.

First we digress to inform the man who thought we were doing 'community service' for a crime. 'What did you do? Drive drunk? Parking tickets?' No and no. We did not commit a crime. We choose to pick up this litter. So yes, it is community service, but the crime was committed by those who can't walk a few more feet to the trash can.

That brings us to incident one. We were bending down to pick up litter in the vicinity of the library when we heard the following exchange:

Don't do that. It's littering," a female voice said.

It's okay. They'll pick it up," a male voice replied.

NO IT IS NOT OKAY! It is not okay that you have no respect for our community and its residents. It is not okay that you think your trash is someone else's responsibility. In retrospect we were glad we didn't see them. Now they are just disembodied voices. If we had a face to go with the voices, it would color any future interaction we might have.

Incident two turned into a teachable moment. A couple of young teenagers came by with questions. 'Do you get paid for this?' No. 'Do you want to do this?' Not really, but if I don't, who will? I live here and someone is trashing my community. I don't like looking at it.

They pondered this while we continued on. We encountered them on the other side of the Boulevard where one of the teens threw a $5.00 bill to the ground and said, 'Here, pick up that trash.' I ignored him and walked on. He called after me. 'Hey do you want this for cleaning up?' And I seized the moment. I walked back and told him to keep his $5.00, but I wanted him and his friend to do something else. Just keep the street in front of your house clean. They thought maybe they could do that. And, maybe they will.

If everyone just cleaned the street in front of their house or business, we wouldn't have to do the Sunday Trash Walk. We could read a book, watch a movie or take a nap. That Sunday we collected 12 grocery-size plastic bags of trash from Cannon Park to Pioneer Avenue.

We try to go out every Sunday except the first Sunday of each month. The first Saturday of the month St. Mark's Prayer Walk cleans the trash, and we use the first Sunday to clean our street.

Ted Turner picks up litter too

Do as media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner does. He was quoted in column by New York Times' Nicholas Kristoff in the Post-Gazette last week: "You don't have to have any money to make a difference. You can pick up trash walking down the street, and I do that all the time", Turner said.

Spring Redd Up sprouting

Neighborhood, community and group participation is at 100 and growing for the Spring Earth Day Weekend Redd Up April 19-21 (on or about). Most of the signups are in Pittsburgh. Contact with communities is on-going. Earth Day 2013 is Monday, Apr. 22.

Friday will be the day when school kids pick up litter on and around their campuses. Saturday will be the biggest cleanup day. Some communities, like Squirrel Hill, recruit volunteers for Sunday cleanups.

Many communities have their cleanups in the Spring on other dates but their participation is listed. Community leaders are asked to sign up by contacting Boris Weinstein of Citizens Against Litter at 412-688-9120 or

In Pittsburgh: Alcoa "green" volunteers, AmeriCorps, Adult Probation Day Reporting Center, Allegheny CleanWays, Allegheny Commons, Allegheny West, Allentown, Banksville, Bedford Dwellings, Beechview, Beltzhoover, Bloomfield, Bon Air, Brighton Heights, Bull Elephants/Masons, California-Kirkbride, Carrick, Central Northside, Chartiers, Citizens Against Litter, Community Technical Assistance Center, Downtown Partnership, Duquesne Heights, East Allegheny, East Carnegie, East Hills, East Liberty, Elliott, Fairywood, Friendship, Garfield, Greenfield, Hazelwood (Glen Hazel), Homewood, Knoxville, Jail Trail, Jubilee Christian School (for Banksville Road), Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Lower Hill, Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Middle Hill, Mt. Washington, Oakland, Observatory Hill, Overbrook, Paddle Without Pollution, PA. Resources Council, Perry Hilltop, Pittsburgh Job Corps, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Polish Hill, Pressley Ridge School for the Deaf, Renew Pittsburgh, Schenley Heights, ServePgh, Shadyside, Sheraden, South Side Graffiti Watch, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, Spring Garden-Deutschtown, Squirrel Hill, Spring Hill, Stanton Heights, Summer Hill, Swisshelm Park, The Academy System, Troy Hill, Uptown, West End Village and Windgap.

In Allegheny County: Chalfant, Etna, Fox Chapel, Heidelberg, Marshall, Natrona Comes Together Assn., PA. Dept. of Environmental Protection, North Park Friends, South Fayette, Friends of South Park, South Park Twp., Stowe, Verona, West Homestead and Wilkinsburg.

In Beaver County: Center (Aliquippa). In Washington County: Mingo Creek Park, Cross Creek Park.

Meet N' Greet Mixer March 21

Clean Pittsburgh Commission's signature event -- the Meet N' Greet Mixer -- will be held Thursday, Mar. 21 at the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink meeting room. The event honors neighborhood Clean Pittsburgh Stewards, the city's finest and cleanest citizens, and highlights outstanding neighborhoods, groups and volunteers with the presentation of "Bob Awards," named for the late Mayor O'Connor.

"Love Your Block" grant deadline February 14

The application deadline by local non-profits for the spring round of "Love Your Block" grants is Feb. l4. The block revitalization program gives up to 30 organizations $1,000 to purchase supplies and equipment necessary to implement a neighborhood block improvement project with community volunteers. Special consideration will be given to projects that engage local veterans and vets' organizations. Contact or call 412-255-2280.

Caught in the act

From a Tribune-Review editorial:

"Visual-blight victory: On (a recent) Sunday an alert citizen called 911 after spotting three likely graffiti 'artists' loading spray-paint cans into backpacks on Pittsburgh's North Side. If cleaning up the mess they allegedly made of a pedestrian walkway across Interstate 279 costs more than $5,000, misdemeanor charges will be upgraded to felonies. Kudos to the unidentified 911 caller and to the police."

The complete editorial is available here:

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 for information and an application form.

Report 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.

"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. There's less of this going on. The Post-Gazette and their Sunday Extra was the year's hands down winner.


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

Did you know litter lasts this long? Cigarette butts 1 to 5 years Aluminum cans 80 to 100 years Orange peels up to 2 years Glass bottles 1 million years Tin cans 50 years Plastic bottles indefinitely Please don't litter.

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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