Texas' largest one day litter cleanup event is set for Saturday

LUFKIN, TX (News Release) - East Texans will be out in full force on Saturday morning cleaning highway rights-of-way of litter. They will be participating in the annual Don't Mess with Texas Trash-Off - the states' largest one-day litter cleanup event.

The trash-off is a partnership between Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). In TxDOT Lufkin District's nine-county area, more than 600 volunteers from the department's Adopt-a-Highway program will be participating. They represent some 40 Adopt-a-Highway groups made of up individuals and school, business and community organizations. Also, participating will be individuals and groups sponsored by KTB affiliates, including Angelina Beautiful/Clean and Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful.

"Don't Mess with Texas is our premiere litter prevention program and the trash-off is the annual event that brings out the majority of our Adopt-a-Highway participants," said Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson. "That's a lot of people statewide pulling together to clean up Texas highways. So we ask the traveling public to slow down and use caution when they see them out there doing their part to clean up litter. Safety is top priority for these volunteers."

In 2011, 75,872 volunteers participated in 848 Trash-Off events across the state, and more than 6,000 miles of highway were cleared of litter and debris, totaling nearly six million pounds of trash.

Trash-Off volunteers are ambassadors for the Don't Mess with Texas campaign. These volunteers, and many other Texans, will have a new tool to fight litter — a free mobile app, to help them report those they see littering Texas highways. For instance, with the single press of a button, the littering incident and type of trash are recorded via GPS.

The new Don't Mess with Texas app allows Texans to identify the litter they see as one of four prevalent types of trash: fast food; cigarette butts; cups, cans and bottles; and miscellaneous trash. The data is then compiled into a map that illustrates what's being littered and where throughout Texas.

As a promoter of safe behavior on roadways, TxDOT has taken precautions to prevent distracted driving. When a user opens the app for the first time, the user is prompted with a reminder not to use the app while driving. Users cannot text or type into the app at any time — only tapping on the touch screen is allowed, and only one tap is needed to report litter.

Don't Mess with Texas, a campaign by TxDOT, has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. TxDOT's litter prevention program also includes Adopt-a-Highway and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful. For more information, visit www.dontmesswithtexas.org or our Facebook page at