Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off
The Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off serves as Texas’ signature event for the Great American Cleanup, the nation’s largest community improvement program, held annually from March through May. The program supports efforts to clear Texas roadsides of trash and includes cleanups taking place April 1-30.
The Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off is part of Texas Department of Transportation's litter prevention program, which includes Don’t mess with Texas, Adopt-a-Highway, and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful. Participants can receive cleanup supplies, promotional items and a host of resources found in our toolkit below. Anyone can participate! Volunteers come from all walks of life: students, civic and non-profit organizations, individuals, community groups, sports teams and more. If you have some free time, please volunteer and make a difference.
Start a Cleanup!
Who: Texans who want to get involved in their local community
What: The Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off is a program to support efforts to clear Texas roadways of litter. Registered participants will have access to the online event toolkit and KTB affiliates will receive trash bags, recycle bags, gloves and a banner.
When: April 1-30. Be sure to plan to order supplies 3 weeks prior to your scheduled cleanup to ensure timely shipment. An event wrap-up report must be completed within two weeks of the event date.
Where: Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off events can take place on any public roadway.
Ways to get involved:
Contact your local KTB Affiliate
Find your local affiliate here.
Join a Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off cleanup in your community
Check out Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off events happening here.
Organize your own Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off cleanup
At this moment, cleanup supply shipping is paused. Check back here for updates when cleanups resume in the fall.
Stop Litter Before it Starts
Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Toolkit
Ready to organize your own Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off event? Here's what to do next:
Review COVID-19 Guidelines
When picking up litter, KTB recommends participants to do so responsibly and at their comfort level. Please have participants wear a face mask and disposable gloves, and use a litter grabber (when available). Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from passersby and those not from your immediate household.
When participants are finished collecting litter, please make sure their trash bags are securely tied to protect sanitation workers. Advise them to immediately wash their hands with soap and water and hand sanitizer after collecting litter. Please have them dispose of their single-use face masks and disposable gloves properly and in the waste bin. Please follow all CDC guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
- Printable Flyer! PPE Litter Cleanup Guidance - How to properly pick up littered personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Printable Flyer! Individual Cleanup Guidance - Recommendations for individuals and households to participate in cleanups.
Additional guidelines and resources can be found on the KTB COVID-19 page.
Pick a Location
Identify a roadway in your community that could be cleaned and that is safe and accessible. Come up with a plan to dispose of the trash and recyclables you collect properly. Visit the site in advance of the cleanup date to determine where to set up a check-in station, where to leave bags of trash and recyclables and what areas volunteers will clean.
Register Your Event with Keep Texas Beautiful
Use this form to register your cleanup for supplies and materials. You must also register your event in our events calendar. Affiliates must sign into the Affiliate portal to do so, while non-affiliate members must submit manually online.
Contact Your Community
Encourage friends, family and colleagues to get involved and help organize the cleanup. Create a work event or a Facebook event so interested volunteers can RSVP and you can easily communicate with attendees. Spread the word through email, social media and e-invites. You can also print and post these event flyers in the area.
- New! Don't mess with Texas Social Media Guide
- New! Value of In-Kind Materials
- New! How to Wrap Up your Cleanup
- Volunteer/Affiliate Fact Sheet
- 2020 Local Community Press Release
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Logo
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Data Collection Card
- Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off Scavenger Hunt Card
Ready to start cleaning up? Here's what to do next.
Arrive early to set up, post signs and label your trash drop-off site. At your check-in station, ensure you have pens, pencils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.
What to Tell Volunteers
Emphasize the importance of data collection. Make sure group leaders have their Safety Speech, Volunteer Welcome, Volume to Weight Estimation Sheet and Data Card. It is easier to collect data as items are picked up, rather than sorting and tallying everything after you clean.
Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.
Tell volunteers what to do with the filled bags of trash and set a meeting time for the end of the cleanup so that everyone returns at the same time. Kids should always have adult supervision.
Document the Cleanup
Take before and after photos of the cleanup site as well as shots of your volunteers in action and a final group picture with all of the trash collected. You can submit these with your data card or tag @KeepTXBeautiful online with #DMWTTO and #GreatAmericanCleanup.
If you have a scale with a hook, use it to weigh the trash bags. If you don’t have a scale, you can use a standard conversion of 15 pounds per trash bag to estimate the overall weight of your collected trash.
As the volunteers finish, remind them to review the information they entered into the Data Cards and then make sure they submit! Collect all completed paper data forms to submit to Keep Texas Beautiful.
Ensure all trash is left in the designated drop-off location and that no materials are left behind as you leave the cleanup location.
Finished sweeping up? Here's what to do next.
Submit your Wrap-Up Report
After your volunteers submit their data online, encourage them to share it on social media and with their local press! We have a great resource to help you with closing out your cleanup - How to Wrap Up your Cleanup.
If you have any questions, or would like to share photos or highlights, feel free to reach out to Keep Texas Beautiful:
Mail: Keep Texas Beautiful
Attn: Don’t mess with Texas® Trash-Off
8850 Business Park Drive, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
Survey your cleanup team post-event. Encourage everyone to share experiences, stories and pictures about what they saw. This might encourage others to attend future events—and now is the time to start planning. Let them know about your next cleanup; get volunteers onboard while their enthusiasm is high!
Send out an email saying, “Look what we did!” Include how many friends, family and community members joined in and the weight of trash were collected. Celebrate your accomplishment as a cleanup organizers and ocean advocate. Thank you!
Please note: Participants interested in using the Don’t mess with Texas logo must receive prior approval from TxDOT as Don’t mess with Texas® is federally registered and owned by TxDOT, thus cannot be used without permission.
The use of the Don’t mess with Texas® logo for the printing of t-shirts is not allowed, regardless of if they are not for profit. You may use the Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off® logo, as part of our agreement with TxDOT, but the Don’t mess with Texas® logo by itself cannot be used.
Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off Impact
The data in the following infographic only includes DMWT Trash-Off eligible activity performed between April 1 - 30.
Most Unusual Item Contest
Enter to win a $100 gift certificate!
To enter, add a picture of your “Most Unusual Item” to your event wrap up report. One entry per wrap up report – must be completed by June 1, 2019 to be included in the contest.
The winner will be announced in mid-June.
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