Keep Texas Waterways Clean
The Keep Texas Waterways Clean program provides support and supplies for waterway cleanups across Texas. This program is open to ALL affiliate and non-affiliate communities located within 30 miles of an H-E-B or Central Market store location.
Anyone can participate! Volunteers come from all walks of life: students, civic and non-profit organizations, individuals, community groups, sports teams and more.
Keep Texas Beautiful wants to make waterway cleanups easy, cost effective, and fun for your community. When you participate in this program, KTB will provide you with the following:
- Waterway Cleanup Kits: trash bags, recycle bags, onion bags, vinyl gloves, work gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, poison ivy cleanser, a yard sign and event posters.
- Cleanup Event Hosting Toolkits: guidelines, best practices, sample templates, etc.
Supply requests are open year-round. Be sure 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.
Keep Texas Waterways Clean events can take place in any waterways including ocean, rivers, lakes, streams, tributaries, bayous, and creeks. Locations must be within 30 miles of an H-E-B or Central Market location.
Your health and safety are our number one priority at TxDOT and Keep Texas Beautiful. KTB reminds Texans to stay safe when choosing to go outside and clean up your communities.
- Identify a location 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.
- Encourage friends, family and colleagues to get involved and help organize the cleanup. Create 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 event flyers in the area.
- When picking up litter, KTB recommends participants to do so responsibly and at their comfort level. Please have available face masks and disposable gloves, and use a litter grabber (when available). 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 single-use face masks and disposable gloves properly and in the waste bin. Please follow all CDC guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
- Arrive early to set up and post appropriate signage for attendees. At your check-in station, ensure you have pens, pencils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.
- Think through the flow of the volunteer experience from welcome to wrap-up. Make sure group leaders have a volunteer welcome and safety speech to give. For cleanups, provide a volume to weight estimation sheet and data card. Consider other things you might want from volunteers, such as a photo release waiver.Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.
- 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.
- 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 #KTWC.
- 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.
- Remind volunteers 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.
Submit your wrap-up report.
Wrap-up reports must be submitted TWO WEEKS after your event. 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.
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 organizer and ocean advocate. Thank you!
Looking for more information about how to enter your cleanup data?
The Event Wrap-Up Guide includes information about how to use the Litter Database and submit your event data.
Keep Texas Waterways Clean
The data in the following infographic includes activity performed between September 1 2021 – August 31, 2022 and reported to KTB.
Waterway Miles Cleaned
Acres of Wetland