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Citizens Against Litter

June 2015 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Tots for trash; "Bob Award" winners ; Geography 90 paints pretty picture of Pittsburgh neighborhoods; 19,500 Redd Up volunteers net 480 tons; Fall Redd Up & PMADD October 17; Sorry to say: Marathoners litter streets; The road back in McKeesport; Picking up in Pitcairn; Paddle Without Pollution pays off; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Litter Redd Up uncovers tire dump; Redd Up roots go back 100 years; 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.

Tots for trash

This story can't wait until the end of the Newslitter because it's too precious to be overlooked if you bail out early. In newspaper lingo a story like this is called a "kicker."

It was told to Mr. Litterman by his cousin, Mike Duffy of O'Hara Township, about his very young nephew visiting here from Los Angeles.

"I want to tell you a funny story about Chuck's son Ethan. The kid loves to pick up garbage. I told Chuck you would love this kid.

"He just turned 4 and he had his birthday party at a recycling plant here in Pittsburgh. His favorite day of the week back home is when he gets to put the garbage cans out front and then he can watch the garbage men pick it up.

"We went to Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville over Memorial Day weekend. When we got there Ethan started picking up litter and stuff. (On his own. No prompting.) I wanted him to swing on the swings but Ethan was more interested in picking up litter. He wouldn't go on the swings until all the litter and trash were picked up. I've never seen a kid like him. Probably you never have either."

Mr. Litterman says, "Sign him up now. He's too good to sit on the sidelines."

Here's a picture of Ethan checking out the recycling operation:

"Bob Awards" winners

Linda Donahue of Carrick is the 2014 "Bob Award" Volunteer of the Year. Neighborhood of the Year honors went to Brighton Heights. The awards were the highlight of the annual Clean Pittsburgh Commission Meet & Greet Mixer held May 28 at Riverview Park. Councilman Corey O'Connor presented the "Bobs," named for his father, the late Mayor Bob O'Connor.

Linda's Carrick activities are numerous. She serves on the community council, is co-chair of its beautification committee, co-chairs the litter patrol, works as a tree tender and as a community garden volunteer and leads once-a-month litter cleanups.

Brighton Heights' clean and green initiatives were recognized. The community participates in two large Redd Up events yearly and boasts of a 30-member volunteer group in the neighborhood's adopt-a-block program. Over the past two years, the community has cleaned up trails connecting Brighton Heights with Riverview Park as well as cleaning up hillsides along Brighton Heights Blvd. and Marmaduke Park.

See pictures from the event at our photo gallery:

Geography 90 paints pretty picture of Pittsburgh neighborhoods

Along comes Lawrenceville artist Ron Donoughe who gives us a quick geography lesson about the 90 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Most of us don't even know the city has 90 neighborhoods let alone be able to name them or guess where they are: north, south east or west.

Ron devoted two years to an interesting project to paint neighborhood portraits, 9" x 12" panels in oil, starting with Allegheny West and ending with Windgap. Ron also put the paintings and other information in a beautiful tabletop book called 90 Neighborhoods. It sells for $35. A 16 x 20-inch wall print of all the images, suitable for framing, sells for $15. Individual prints are also available. Ron's work is on exhibit through Aug. 8 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in the East End. Ron paints them. We clean them. Find links to a recent story about the project as well as Ron's website and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts by visiting our website:

19,500 Spring Redd Up volunteers net 480 tons

Reports from 62 communities, projected to 350 participating communities, show that the Spring Redd Up attracted 19,500 volunteers who collected 480 tons of litter in cleanups in March, April and May, according to Citizens Against Litter. The report covers cleanups in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and beyond. Results show increases over the Redd Up a year ago: 2,000 more volunteers and almost 100 tons more collected litter, said Boris Weinstein. A sampling of community results:

Fall Redd Up and PMADD October 17

The date for the Fall Redd Up and Pitt Make a Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 17. Pittsburgh neighborhoods, communities outside the city and groups have been signing up for over a month. Early Fall Redd Up signed-in communities and groups are:

Pittsburgh: Alcoa volunteers, Allegheny CleanWays, Allegheny County Day Reporting Center, Arlington, Aviary, Bloomfield, Brighton Heights, Brookline, Carnegie Mellon's Alpha Pi Sorority, Carrick, Duquesne Heights, Duquesne University's Spiritan Ministry, East Allegheny, East Carnegie, Elliott, Fairywood, Garfield, Glen Hazel, Hays, Hazelwood, Homewood, Lincoln Place, Lower Hill, Manchester, Middle Hill, Mount Washington, New Homestead, Oakland, Perry Hilltop, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Shadyside, Schenley Heights, Sheraden, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, Spring Hill, Spring Garden, Stanton Heights, Thirty First St. Lofts, Troy Hill and Uptown.

Allegheny County: Collier, Crafton, Dormont, East McKeesport, Etna, Friends of North Park, Friends of South Park, Forest Hills, Glassport, Leetsdale, Lincoln, McKeesport, Mount Lebanon, McKees Rocks, North Versailles, Penn Hills, Pitcairn, Port Vue, Scott, South Park, Stowe, Verona, West Mifflin, West View and Wilkins.

Butler County: Butler Twp.

Last year, result surveys indicated that approximately 10,000 volunteers participated in 150 to 200 communities. Volunteers collected approximately 200 tons of litter. Also last year Pitt students, engaged in their seventh Pitt Make a Difference Day, set a record for participation with 3,724 volunteers at 115 sites. Pitt officials estimated that their volunteers delivered 13, 240 service hours. PMADD is one of the largest -- possibly the largest -- events in National MADD that attracts over 3 million volunteers.

Sorry to say: Marathoners litter streets

The following letter was sent to Pittsburgh Marathon officials by Matthew J. Wholey, a Shadyside resident:

"Each year after the marathon the streets and sidewalks where it comes through are littered with spent energy packs and their torn tops, wrappers, water bottles, plastic bottle caps from those, cut zip ties from signage, leftover cords wrapped around utility poles, and various garbage presumably left by spectators. Yesterday, Monday the 4th, I walked and filled an entire shopping bag with just those items. This over a three block area where I live in Shadyside. I bent over, avoided oncoming traffic, and cleaned it up as best I could. I looked into the sewer and was not surprised to find it filled with much of these same items. It is without argument that had I not cleaned these items up, "redded up" if you will, the rain would have simply washed them into the sewer, and from there onto the rivers and ocean beyond. This is wholly unacceptable.

"While doing this I thought to myself, 'if someone was to use my property for an event, and then leave it in this state, they would never, ever, be allowed to use my property again.'

"For some unfounded reason, marathon participants feel they are allowed to litter. This mentality has to change. And it is your responsibility to change it. But in the meantime, you need to do a much better and thorough job of cleaning up after the event. I am sure you have street sweepers come through, and that's good and obvious. But like anything, machinery can do the heavy lifting, but boots on the ground need to finish.

"So might I suggest a corps of volunteers to do just that? I will be your first one. With the duty to clean up all after marathon litter on a set block or blocks. We can be provided with instructions, gloves, bags, etc.

"Let me know what you think. I would welcome a phone conversation to discuss ideas."

Paddle Without Pollution pays off

Since 2011, PWP has removed more than 42 tons of litter from Western Pennsylvania's watersheds, engaged 300 volunteers per year in stewardship work that makes an immediate difference to the health of our waterways, increased the public's awareness of the effects of watershed pollution and involved our community in direct action, low-impact events that enable anyone to make a positive difference through hands-on stewardship.

Recently PWP volunteers removed 2 tons of debris in cleanups of Chartiers Creek, Ten Mike Creek and North Park Lakes. Coming upon July 25 is a cleanup at Pymatuning State Park and in September for the International Coastal Cleanup in Erie (19th) and National Public Lands Day (26th) at Allegheny Island State Park and Oakmont.

For more information, visit

The road back underway in McKeesport

Read about the efforts in McKeesport to beautify the city and reclaim vacant lots. There are activities on many fronts by grassroots programs and knowledgeable leadership.

Picking up in Pitcairn

Pittcairn Borough Council is supportive of resident volunteer Alan Ankney's efforts to remove litter in the borough one street at a time. Read about Mr. Ankney's grassroots initiative.

Philadelphia's bold move

The following item is reprinted from "This Week in Litterland," a publication from Toronto with a mission dedicated to lowering the rate of littering.

"Every city should do this. Philadelphia Council has passed a bylaw requiring stores of any size that sell food of any sort to put waste bins within ten feet of their entranceways.

"Borrowing a page from the Disneyland maintenance manual, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown touted the idea of having bins everywhere to keep streets and sidewalks clean. Disney subscribes to the 30-step principle, the distance a person prone to littering will walk to reach a bin. Businesses will face a fine of $100 if they fail to comply. The mayor is expected to sign the bill into law, its final step toward enactment."

Report mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postmaster Dan Davis invites citizens to be proactive and call the Postal Service 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 nonprofits are often responsible when they put their business on Shadyside streets. There's less of this going on. May's top litterer is the Post-Gazette 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 Garbagevilles in Shadyside 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.

Litter Redd Up uncovers tire dump

Like her grandmother in North Versailles, Yough School District student Catie Stickler comes along to organize a Redd Up of her own in West Newton. Catie and 10 of her friends and family had a Redd Up on Saturday, May 2. They not only picked up litter and some tires but came upon a huge tire illegal dumpsite. It's been reported to Allegheny CleanWays.

Redd Up roots go back 100 years

In the Post-Gazette last month, Len Barcousky's Eyewitness: 1915 series spotlighted Pittsburgh's "first Redd Up." One hundred years ago -- 1915 -- it was called "Clean up, Spruce up and Paint-up" and it opened with a Downtown parade. Mr. Litterman recalls participating in it when he was a student in the 30's and 40's. Community-wide spring cleaning here went way back to counter Pittsburgh's then national reputation as a "smoky city" and "Hell with the lid off". Read about Redd Up #1 at

Next to last word

From a Stanton Heights volunteer:

"I want to thank you for your efforts to get the city of Pittsburgh to clean the ramps to the major roadways. You are correct -- people such as us can't clean them without risking injury -- and they are disgraceful. Thanks for all you do, and enjoy this holiday."

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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