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Citizens Against Litter

May 2016 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Stewards Meet 'n' Greet Mixer May 19; Allegheny County Cleanup Day June 26; Thanks volunteers; Send us your Redd Up results; St Clair Green Team praised; Stanton Heights building rain garden; Crafton Heights reports less litter; Monroeville's numbers good; but less; Fall Redd Up/Pitt Make a Difference Day October 22; PRC resumes accepting discarded TVs now; Westmoreland CleanWays takes TVs too; A warning worth repeating; Report mailbox graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Shadyside garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Litter's Big 3: cigarette butts, dog poo, and trash; The last word

Our mission

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

Stewards Meet 'n' Greet Mixer May 19

The annual Clean Pittsburgh Commission's Litter Stewards Meet 'n' Greet Mixer will be held later this month on Thursday, May 19 at the 26th Street Market and Cafe from 6 to 8 p.m. The event brings together neighborhood leaders and volunteers. It began in 2008. A feature of the event will be presentation of a number of "Bob Awards" to neighborhoods and individuals. Bob Awards honor the late Bob O'Connor who initiated Redd Ups when he became mayor in 2006 and influenced city residents to shift their social behavior from creating litter to creating cleanliness around their homes and in public places. Contact Sarah Alessio Shea at or for information and details.

Allegheny County Cleanup Day June 26

The area has Redd Ups in the spring and Earth Day season and in October when neighborhoods join with Pitt Make a Difference Day. Beginning Sunday, June 26, there will be a third litter cleanup event -- the Allegheny County Cleanup Day. County Council passed a resolution for this event last May. The resolution said in part "Allegheny has a longstanding and robust history of fostering initiatives to promote sustainability, natural beauty, and a clean environment in which its residents may work and live in aesthetically pleasing and healthy communities." The resolution calls upon "volunteers to get involved in projects that focus on landscaping, maintenance, refuse removal and other beautification efforts."

There are 4 cities, 42 townships and 86 boroughs in Allegheny County. The County covers 745 square miles (including Pittsburgh's 55). The population is 1.2 million (including Pittsburgh's 305,000).

Citizens Against Litter has offered to assist County officials.

Thanks volunteers

Fourteen years ago Citizens Against Litter took on a life. It was a pretty simple concept that was shopped around for a couple of years: Start a network of community volunteers to rid the City of litter and trash. After that and rather quickly, "rid" became Redd Up. Citizens Against Litter began in Shadyside in 2005; was embraced by Squirrel Hill and Homewood to form the award-winning Redd Up Coalition; expanded to North and South Point Breezes and then exploded across the city to most of Pittsburgh's 90 neighborhoods and into Allegheny County by 2007.

The final section of the Citizens Against Litter simple sales pitch was titled, "A CAN'T MISS INITIATIVE FOR PITTSBURGH" and read: "At a time in the life of Pittsburgh when most capital projects to keep us world-class cost hundreds of millions of dollars, along comes an initiative that is the biggest bargain in the City's budget. This initiative is a drop in the financial bucket and worth a fortune to local pride and Pittsburgh's global image.

"The sponsors of this 'can't miss' initiative will benefit for its contributions to the present and future Pittsburgh and its citizens." The sales pitch ended, "Everyone is against litter."

For the record. Citizens Against Litter has no sponsors or funders. We do fine without them. In 14 years the only cost (can't even call it an "expenditure") has been $6 for running off 500 copies of a flyer titled "What is Citizens Against Litter?" Today litter is still a dirty word. Our late Mayor Bob O'Connor started erasing it with the Pittsburghese version of clean up called Redd Up. Redd Upping has become a regular thing to do in spring and fall by citizens.

You, the volunteer citizens of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and beyond are owed the thanks of the region. Many thousands, maybe as many as 20,000 -- the pre- Spring Redd Up estimate -- of volunteers in 500 groups, neighborhoods and communities in Pittsburgh and six neighboring counties in March, April and May have and will Redd Up the streets, sidewalks, vacant lots and grassy places. The stuff you collect is hauled away by public works departments everywhere and could total in excess of 450 tons.

Money cannot buy the value of your time and energy devoted to Redd Ups. Would you believe the value is over $1 million dollars ($23.56 an hour x 3 hours per volunteer x 15,000 or 20,000 total volunteers, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service)?

Thanks Citizen volunteers for what you do...redding up for people who litter and don't care.

Send us your Redd Up results

We've been having a heck of a time compiling data on Redd Up participation We need your help. If you are involved in managing your Redd Up, please share results with us: (1) the number of your volunteers, (2) the amount of litter bags your volunteers collected, and (3) will you participate in the fall Redd Up (with Pitt volunteers) in October? Call 412-688-9120 or e-mail

We hope to have a results report for the Spring Redd Up in next month's newsletter. Some results follow: Monroeville, 350 volunteers, 2.5 tons of litter collected; Mt. Lebanon/Scott/Collier, 120 volunteers, 3 tons; Squirrel Hill, 120 volunteers and 1 ton collected; Findley and North Fayette, 85 volunteers, 1 ton; Homewood, 65 volunteers, 2 tons; South Side Slopes, 35 volunteers, 1 ton; Mt. Washington, 38 volunteers, 1 ton; Stanton Heights, 25 volunteers, 1/4 ton; Ross, 60 volunteers, 1/2 ton; and Garfield, 27 volunteers, 1/2 ton.

St. Clair Hospital Green Team praised

Sal Sirabella of Collier wrote the following on the wrap up of his township's very successful Redd Up.

On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, we are honored to thank you, the St. Clair Hospital Green Team, for again participating in our Keep Collier Beautiful, community clean-up event 2016. Over 120 volunteers participated, including high school students, scout troops, church youth groups, local corporate businesses, Public Works, Police, Administrative Staff and our appointed and elected officials. Together we gathered over 275 bags of litter from the streets of Collier Township.

Plans are already underway for an event in October in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, 'Pitt Makes a Difference Day', and next year's event, to be held on Earth Day 2017. Until then, thank you again.

Stanton Heights building rain garden

Jim Heinrich, resident and litter hater, writes in:

The Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association is embarking on a huge beautification project to build a rain garden at the intersection of Stanton Ave. and McCandless, up the hill from Butler St. Eventually the area will include wildflowers and a 'Welcome to Stanton Heights' sign, as well as indentations in the curb so that water running down the hill from McCandless will infiltrate the rain garden. We are waiting to hear from PWSA on whether we have obtained a grant for this rain garden. Meanwhile, we received a $1,000 Love Your Block Grant to cover the initial costs. We'll plant flowers on May 7.

About half of our effort on Saturday concentrated on cleaning up this hill, digging up a section, tilling it, and removing gravel. Volunteers also planted hops along a corrugated steel barrier that's against the hill. DPW removed two huge piles of gravel and clay on Monday. We are off to a wonderful start.

Other volunteers were cleaning up a green space at Stanton and Woodbine and were redding up the neighborhood in general.

Also, since retiring, I have spent probably two hours a week cleaning up the neighborhood. It's one of the best things I do.

Crafton Heights reports less litter

Dave Carver:

We had a group from the Youth Center that worked on some streets here in the Crafton Heights neighborhood of the West End. We were pleasantly surprised that the amount of litter was LESS than we anticipated!

Monroeville's numbers good; but less

Joe Sedlak checked in with Monroeville's numbers. "We had 350 volunteers this year down from previous years." Volunteers picked up 2.5 tons of litter, again one of the most active Redd Ups in the area.

Fall Redd Up and Pitt Make a Difference Day October 22

Ready. Mark your calendars. The 2016 date for the fall Redd Up and Pitt Make a Difference Day will be Saturday, October 22. Some 3,500 Pitt student volunteers participated in 2015. The office of Pittserves at the university manages the event which involves Pittsburgh neighborhoods and Allegheny County communities. Citizens Against Litter assisted Pitt in managing the event when it began in 2008. The event has become one of nation's largest MADD community service projects. For information contact or call 412-624-1065.

PRC accepting discarded TVs now

From the PRC newsletter, "The DEP's recent decision to allow fee-based programs to recycle televisions and other covered electronic devices will enable PRC to resume collecting televisions at its Hard-to-Recycle events. However, PRC must charge a fee to cover the cost of recycling." This is described as an interim program.

The schedule for upcoming Hard-to-Recycle events in Allegheny County is: Saturday, May 14 at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills (Tarentum); Saturday, June 25 at ANSYS in Canonsburg; Saturday, July 30 at a location to be announced; Saturday, August 20 at Century 111 Mall in West Mifflin; and Saturday, October 1 at the Mall in Robinson.

Westmoreland CleanWays taking TVs too

Westmoreland Cleanways Recycling Center in Unity accepts televisions in its recycling program. An article in the Pittsburgh Trib-Review in March said, "Many waste collection companies and recycling centers have discontinued picking up televisions because of restrictions in the state's Covered Device Recycling Act which went into effect in 2013.

"We and our recycling partner, JVS Environmental, are committed to serving our communities with a convenient recycling option for your unwanted electronics, as the law intended", said Ellen Keefe, executive director of Westmoreland Cleanways. "We have the support of our county commissioners and other funders to keep the program alive. Everyone is welcome; you don't have to be a resident of Westmoreland County to recycle with us."

Located in Innovative Park near Beatty Crossroads, the recycling center is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m Wednesdays and Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to noon the second Saturday of every month to accept televisions and all other electronics at no charge. The recycling center accepts Freon appliances, tires and fluorescent tube light bulbs for a fee.

Scrap metal, used motor oil, batteries of all kinds, cardboard and mixed paper can be recycled at no charge.

Details: 724-531-1912 or

A warning worth repeating

This letter to the editor from Mary Spino ran in the Pittsburgh Trib-Review last month.

Living in Greensburg and seeing the accumulation of litter is disheartening. Litter sadly says a lot regarding the city. The health and environment of its citizens are in jeopardy. When a community is so littered, it sends a message that this is acceptable behavior. It basically says we don't care about where we live.

Litter is a human health problem, and something needs done beyond the efforts of overwhelmed volunteers.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, litter can provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents that can transmit diseases and pose additional risks from thriving bacteria. Anyone cut or injured by the litter risks infection. Litter also can be a fire hazard and harms the waterways and the city water system. Litter takes away from the value of homes and economically hurts the city by deterring new residents and/or businesses from locating there.

A start would be for citizens to contact the City of Greensburg for assistance with a cleaning. Simple measure are making more public waste cans available, citing offenders of litter laws and adhering to a campaign of municipal cleanliness. Community involvement also helps, but prevention and response are keys.

Report mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postal Service 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. April's top litterer continues to be the Post-Gazette Sunday Extra free advertising circular.

Shadyside Garbagevilles

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's Big 3: Cigarette butts, dog poo, and trash

According to the "This Week in Litterland" newsletter, Verdun, Quebec, residents are being offered posters to stick on improperly placed garbage as part of a campaign rollout recently. The whimsical and fetching designs take on the Big Three of litter disasters in any community: cigarette butts, dog pooh and general trash. In the French language the word for garbage is "ordure."

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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