A dozen years ago, Boris Weinstein's began a personal campaign to clean up litter in Shadyside. That campaign has transformed into bi-annual Redd Ups that collect 300 tons of trash in 300 communities throughout Allegheny and the surrounding counties of Beaver, Butler and Washington.
"Redd up" means to clear or to tidy in Pittsburghese
"This works," Weinstein says of his organization, Citizens Against Litter
, "because I was able to organize a network of leaders in all the neighborhoods – I call them 'Clean Pittsburgh Stewards' – and it's through them that we're able to have successful Redd Ups."
Now about 55 volunteers on average per community participate in the fall and spring Redd Ups. The spring version runs through May.
"I felt that if I could demonstrate the effectiveness of a volunteer organization on one neighborhood," he adds, "it could be replicated."
Litter comes from four main causes, Weinstein says: everyday carelessness; illegal dump sites that attract major collections; business owners who don't clean up their properties regularly; and too few waste containers at businesses and apartments, causing them to overflow. "That's where you get flyaway litter," he says.
This year's volunteer contingent includes several hundred Duquesne University students working on the South Side flats and slopes, Uptown and the Hill District on April 12.
To volunteer and find a neighborhood group with which to connect, call 412-688-9120 or e-mail Weinstein here
As he concludes: "I always say, people who care must pick up for people who don't care."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Boris Weinstein, Citizens Against Litter