AUSTIN – Thirty years after the Texas Department of Transportation launched its “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign the spirited call-to-action is still going strong.
“‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ is more than an iconic slogan, it’s an appeal to our Texas pride to keep our great state beautiful and litter-free,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III. “It also serves as a reminder that each of us has a responsibility to put trash where it belongs and not toss it alongside our roadways. Whether you’re a tried-and-true Texan or just passing through, we’re here to remind you, ‘Don’t Mess with Texas.’”
To celebrate the campaign’s third decade, Boy Scouts in Texas can earn a commemorative 30th anniversary “Don’t Mess with Texas” patch for achieving a litter cleanup requirement during Saturday’s annual “Don’t Mess with Texas” Trash-Off and other litter pickup events throughout the year. The “Don’t Mess with Texas” Trash-Off Saturday (April 9) is a partnership between TxDOT and Keep Texas Beautiful and is the single largest one-day roadway cleanup effort in the state. Last year, 1,500 trash-off events across Texas resulted in more than 85,000 volunteers collecting more than 10 million pounds of waste and recyclables. To volunteer or learn more, visit www.DontMessWithTexas.org
Additionally, a special series of cleanup events will be held across Texas this spring and summer. The “Don’t Mess with Texas” Trash & Treasure Hunts will take place in each of the 25 TxDOT districts where community residents will participate for a chance to win donated grand prizes from Texas-based YETI, AM Racing NASCAR driver Austin Wayne Self and other local and statewide partners.
Small Trash, Big Mess
In Texas each year, nearly half a billion pieces of visible litter still pile up along state-maintained highways. Seventy percent of this litter is small trash like napkins, cigarette butts, and fast food wrappers. In 2015, litter cleanup efforts cost $32 million. Violators can face fines starting at $500.
The Stars of Texas
In 1986, legendary Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan helped launch TxDOT’s inaugural “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign. Since then, Texas celebrities like George Strait, Willie Nelson, and Erykah Badu have lent their voices and support. The newest generation of “Don’t Mess with Texas” stars includes Lukas Nelson, the Eli Young Band and Grupo Fantasma. All will be featured in the campaign’s public service announcements beginning this month.