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Pittsburgh's Garbage Olympics bring out competitive nature in communities across the city

Garbage Olympics In Pittsburgh
Garbage Olympics In Pittsburgh 02:07

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - On Saturday in East Liberty and neighborhoods all throughout the city, community members gathered for a good cause and a little lighthearted competition.

The Garbage Olympics is an annual event that has been going on in the city since 2017. And in East Liberty, they were one of the first five neighborhoods to take part way back when.

"So, a bunch of neighbors put together a group to pick up litter in the neighborhood, said Lena Andrews, the Captain of the East Liberty Trash Warriors. "And we were talking to friends in the East End, and we found, 'Oh, there are other neighborhoods that have groups also. Wouldn't it be fun if we all competed?' And so we did. But we were only five neighborhoods then, and now, the event is about forty neighborhoods."

Over the years, this event has seen some 3,000 volunteers who have picked up more than 3,350 bags of trash, 1,500 tires, and 900 televisions, all while exploring their shared environment with friends and neighbors.

Pittsburgh's Department of Public Works provided the bags, gloves, and safety vests, and they picked up all the collected trash from the competing neighborhoods.

Some neighborhoods go all in on the competition aspect, coming up with their own team names, like the East Liberty Trash Warriors, and having their own branded t-shirts.

But at the end of the day, all the participants are winners, because the real reward is a cleaner city and community.

"We have been doing this for nine years in East Liberty," Andrews said. "I have seen a huge difference because when there is litter on the ground people feel more comfortable littering. If they see people picking up litter, they're less likely to do it, and over time, you can make an enormous change. And people want to live in a beautiful place."

There is no doubt the Garbage Olympics will be back next year, but if you feel like training for this event, there really is no bad time, to get outside and help beautify your community.

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