35 Neighborhood Teams Recruiting Volunteers to Pick Up Litter for City's Fourth Annual Garbage Olympics

PITTSBURGH, PA (September 10, 2020) On September 26, 2020, 34 Pittsburgh neighborhood teams and Penn Hills plan to compete in the city’s fourth annual Garbage Olympics to pick up trash from city streets. With COVID-19 protocols in place, groups will be encouraged to socially distance, and thus cover more ground in their neighborhoods. 

The City’s Department of Public Works and the Mayor’s Clean Pittsburgh Commission will provide not only bags and gloves this year, but also personal protective equipment (PPE) and "nifty nabber" litter grabbers.

The Garbage Olympics began in 2017 with five teams competing for an Oscar award for the most trash collected. The event has grown exponentially since starting, with more than one third of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods city-wide participating in 2019. 

Linda Donahue, who organizes clean-ups through the Carrick Community Council, says, "It might be a simple act, but picking up litter makes an immediate and noticeable difference in our community.  It connects us to one another - even WITH social distancing- and makes us feel part of something bigger."

"The Garbage Olympics is truly a team effort! Neighborhoods are kept clean and beautiful thanks to a lot of collaboration among neighborhood groups, non-profits, and the City's Department of Public Works. The Clean Pittsburgh Commission is thrilled to help with empowering this work and some fun along the way," said Alicia Carberry of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works will again collect the trash from designated locations in each neighborhood, and the City’s hard-to-recycle vendor, ECS&R, will drive around to pick up and recycle the televisions found during clean-ups. 

"Volunteer efforts are a great way to help in keeping our city as litter-free as possible. It also exposes those who volunteer to what an ongoing problem litter is in our city.  We want everyone to be careful in this COVID-19 climate, and are proud to be able to provide supplies and services to the Garbage Olympics," says Public Works Superintendent Bill Crean.

Some Pittsburgh City Councilmembers are purchasing gift cards to local restaurants for the teams in their districts to take out lunches to go. Previous years have ended with an in-person closing ceremony-- this year’s winners will be announced in a YouTube video the same day.

Registered neighborhood teams, captain contact information and meeting spots can be found on

The deadline for new neighborhood teams to register is Monday, September 14th.

Registering guarantees bags, gloves, and PPE, as well as timely collection of the trash collected. 

Interested participants can also email or text or call (412) 447-1017 to join a team. RSVPS’s are strongly suggested. 

This year’s Garbage Olympics are dedicated to Boris Weinstein, who passed away this summer, for his decades-long dedication to community organizing and redding up the streets of Pittsburgh.


Garbage Olympics Contacts: 
Chris Mitchell, Anti Litter Specialist for the City of Pittsburgh - (412) 302-3460
Lena Andrews, event organizer - (412) 607-1957
Renee Robinson, event organizer - (412) 999-8928


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office