Texas Prepares for Annual ‘Trash-Off’

Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off logo | Image by Texas Department of Transportation

Texas is preparing for the month of April as it marks the kickoff to the state’s annual “Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off.”

The event is part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) litter prevention program, which also includes Don’t mess with Texas, and Adopt-a-Highway.

Volunteers get a chance to do their part to “Keep Texas Beautiful” by picking up the loads of litter found along Texas roadways.

The Adopt-a-Highway program began back in 1985, along with the launch of the anti-litter campaign known as Don’t mess with Texas. The Trash-Off began the following year in 1986.

“The Texas Trash-Off is the single largest one-day cleanup event in the state and serves as Texas’ signature event for the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup,” Tony Hartzel, the director of Northeast Texas communications at TxDOT, shared with The Dallas Express.

“All Texans should do their part to reduce litter on roadways, and the Texas Trash-Off gives Texans a way to help keep our roadways clear. Adopt-A-Highway volunteers are asked to collect trash from two-mile sections of roadways four times a year, including during the Trash-Off in April.”

Last year, 10,512 volunteers — 628 of whom were youths — cleaned up 1,132 miles of the roadway during the Trash-Off, according to the Keep Texas Beautiful website. A massive total of 325,304 pounds of trash and recyclables were collected.

“Litter on the roads is unsightly, but it can also be a safety hazard. The Texas Trash-Off helps safeguard our environment, promotes community involvement, saves taxpayer dollars, and creates [a] clean and welcoming community for all Texans,” Hartzel added. “Every TxDOT District Office operates an Adopt-A-Highway program, and volunteers are always encouraged to join.”

On March 18, the City of Dallas announced that it had established a strategic partnership with Keep Dallas Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to litter prevention, recycling, and beautification, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Affiliated with Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful, Keep Dallas Beautiful’s mission is “centered on embracing, educating, and encouraging neighborhoods to help make Dallas a cleaner city,” according to a press release.

“It’s another tool for our department to utilize for our residents as we strive to create a cleaner Dallas. Our team will continue to work with our neighbors, businesses, [and] communities to reach this goal through our partnership with Keep Dallas Beautiful,” said Christopher Christian, director of Code Compliance Services, in the press release.

Thus far in March, the City of Dallas has found 2,363 violations of litter on private property, alleys, and parkways, according to the Dallas Code Compliance performance dashboard. There have been 531 violations of litter on vacant lots and commercial properties.

In 2023, there were over 35,000 offenses related to litter and junk, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off runs from April 1 – 30. For more information, including toolkits and resources, click here.

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