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Ten Texas Middle School Students Win Statewide Contest to Write Catchiest New Slogans for Iconic Don't mess with Texas® Trashcans

More than 400 middle school students from across the state showed off their creative side by entering the Don't mess with Texas® Middle School Can Slogan Contest in 2015. Organized by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Keep Texas Beautiful, middle school students were asked to write their own inventive slogan to be featured on a Don't mess with Texas® trashcan.
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Ten Communities Receive Prestigious State Environmental Award

On March 3 2015, Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) announced the winners of the 2015 Governor's Community Achievement Awards, one of the most prestigious annual environmental awards in Texas. The communities of Aubrey, Argyle, Whitehouse, Lockhart, Dickinson, Friendswood, Harlingen, Temple, Lewisville and Houston were selected by a panel of judges to share $2 million from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), to be used for landscaping projects along local rights-of-way within their communities. 

The awards recognize the best grassroots environmental programs in the state, and are awarded in 10 different categories, based on population. Every community in Texas is eligible to apply for a Governor's Community Achievement Award. A community's environmental program is judged on achievements in seven different areas: community leadership and coordination, education, public awareness, litter prevention and cleanup, litter law and illegal dumping enforcement, beautification and community improvement, and solid waste management. 

The GCAA program has recognized outstanding communities for more than 46 years, with TxDOT providing landscape funding since 1986. KTB will formally recognize and award these communities during its 48th Annual Conference in Fort Worth, on June 15-17, 2015.

Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement nonprofit, strives to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. KTB and its more than 370 affiliates work with government, businesses, civic groups and volunteers to ensure that every Texan has the opportunity to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. 

For more information on programs and events, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit www.ktb.org.  Keep Texas Beautiful and TxDOT first began working together in the late 1960s, sharing the common goals of making Texas roadways more attractive and safe for motorists and encouraging tourism, goals which have remained for more than 40 years. Since 1985, KTB has partnered with the TxDOT to support TxDOT's anti-litter and beautification programs such as Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off and the Governor's Community Achievement Awards.

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The Truth About Carton Recycling: Myth vs. Reality

Carton recycling continues to gain momentum in Texas. With recycling programs across the state adding cartons, there are several common questions that are raised. Read about a few of the most common myths and realities about cartons.

Myth: Cartons have a "wax" coating.
Reality: Food and beverage cartons do not contain any wax. Cartons are made mainly from paper in the form of paperboard. What you think of as "wax" on a carton is actually a thin layer of polyethylene (plastic). Recycling program guidelines that say "wax" or waxy coated cartons are incorrect. Instead use this language - "food and beverage cartons such as milk, juice, soup, creamer, and broth."

Myth: Cartons should be flattened and if it has a cap, the cap needs to be removed.
Reality: Cartons should be placed in the recycling container in their original form - not flattened and the caps can be left on. This is the best to ensure they are recycled to obtain their truest value.

Myth: A carton is not recyclable if a recycling logo is not on the packaging.
Reality: Whether or not you see an actual recycling symbol on a carton you buy, they ARE recyclable. The aseptic and gable top cartons found in grocery stores today are all recyclable. However, not all Americans can recycle them in their communities just yet. The Carton Council is working hard to change that, and today more than half of American households CAN recycle cartons they consume.

Myth: The material that comes from cartons when they are recycled is not valuable. They aren't really turned into anything else.
Reality: Cartons are a valuable source of material, representing some of the cleanest and best long fiber currently in the residential recycling stream. Paper mills use this fiber to make paper products such as tissue, paper towel, etc. In addition, some companies use the material from cartons to produce sustainable building materials such as wall board and ceiling tiles.

Myth: You can't recycle cartons in most U.S. communities.
Reality: In recent years, food and beverage carton recycling has been added to thousands of residential recycling programs, and today, more than half of America households can recycle cartons. This includes communities in 48 states and 77 of the top 100 U.S. cities. And that number is growing every day, thanks to strong collaboration between the Carton Council, local governments, and recycling facilities. Here in Texas, 47% of the households across the state can recycle cartons.

For more information about cartons and carton recycling, please contact Carton Council via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our websites - www.recyclecartons.com for general information, and www.cartonopportunities.org for in-depth information about adding cartons to your program.

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Three Dallas-Fort Worth Area Students Win Keep Texas Beautiful and Don't mess with Texas College Scholarships

AUSTIN (May 8, 2014) - Paying for college just got a little easier for Sonia Campos (Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School, Mesquite), Caroline Carr (Trinity High School, Euless) and Krystal Johnson (Lamar High School, Arlington). The three students were recognized for their work promoting a litter-free community and each recieved a scholarship from Keep Texas Beautiful the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Don't mess with Texas Scholarship.

Campos, Carr and Johnson were three of the more than 700 Texas high school seniors who applied for this year's Don't mess with Texas scholarships. Applications were judged based on student essays detailing creative solutions to litter problems.

"Winners of the Don't Mess with Texas scholarship exemplify not only hard work in the classroom but a commitment to litter prevention in their communities," said Margo Richards, Travel Information Division Director at TxDOT.

The three scholarship recipients were recognized for the following:

  • Campos ensures youth in her community stay engaged in the fight against littering as an intern for Keep Mesquite Beautiful and president of the organization's Youth Environmental Leaders.
  • Carr worked with the city of Bedford's public works department to design and install 10 interactive signs at community parks with creeks, asking people to help keep the creeks clean.
  • Johnson directed, filmed and produced a public service announcement concerning the littering problem at her high school and in her city and worked with her church's youth group to conduct monthly "Trashenger Hunts" to collect trash in Arlington's public spaces.

"Texans ages 16 to 34 are those who are most likely to litter, so it's important that we reach them while they are young to teach them how to prevent litter in their schools and hometowns," said Cathie Gail, Executive Director, Keep Texas Beautiful. "Caroline, Sonia and Krystal are leading the charge in their communities to keep our state litter-free and beautiful, so we wanted to recognize their efforts with these scholarships."

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Keep America Beautiful Presents Pflugerville's Sarah Young with First Place Youth Recognition Award

Pflugerville's Sarah Young was recognized for her outstanding commitment to improving her community environment with the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) First Place Youth Recognition Award.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation's leading nonprofit that builds and sustains vibrant communities, presented the award during its recent National Conference in Charlotte, NC where KAB affiliate leaders from across the country share their best practices and celebrate their successes of the past year. The Keep America Beautiful Youth Recognition Awards are open to individuals or groups who exhibited an outstanding commitment to improving their community environment and who comprehensively support the Keep America Beautiful mission through their projects and programs implemented in the community. Young was nominated by Keep Texas Beautiful.

Sarah Young was recognized for outstanding community work and leadership. She is a founding member and Youth Director of Discover Green - Young Environmental Leaders, Inc., a young-led environmental movement, dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment; empowering students to take action through environmentally-focused projects; and taking action to protect the environment for current and future generations.

Young is also involved in Girl Scouts, 4-H, the city of Pflugerville - Parks and Recreation Commission and the Lower Colorado River Authority as a Water Quality Monitor.  Having earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, Keep Texas Beautiful's Youth Award of Excellence and Texas One Star Foundation's First Lady Rising Star Award, Young is committed to being a role model to others.

"It's my privilege to honor sarah young and celebrate her dedication to improving the quality of life in central texas," said cathie gail, executive director of keep texas beautiful. "in the spirit of keep texas beautiful, sarah serves as a role model to local youth, affecting change through education and awareness of environmental issues."

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Collin County's Lee Howe Receives Keep America Beautiful National Law Enforcement Award

Collin County Deputy Lee Howe was recognized for his outstanding work in the field of environmental law enforcement with the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) National Law Enforcement Recognition Award.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation's leading nonprofit that builds and sustains vibrant communities, presented the award during its recent National Conference in Charlotte, NC. The Keep America Beautiful Law Enforcement Recognition Awards honor the law enforcement professionals who have exceeded the duty requirements expected of their position and have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to community service in their approaches to enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

Howe has served in law enforcement for over 40 years, and in 2009 was promoted to Environmental Enforcement Deputy, targeting illegal dumping in Collin County. With his leadership, Howe initiated a collaborative effort and created a critical team among County departments. He works with many of the cities, towns and rural communities in Collin County, and regularly assists with the annual City of McKinney Texas Trash-Off. His hands on approach sets a powerful example for his colleagues and yields tangible results in terms of reducing illegal dump sites.

"It's my privilege to honor Lee Howe and celebrate his dedication to improving the quality of life in Collin County," said Cathie Gail, executive director of Keep Texas Beautiful. "In the spirit of Keep Texas Beautiful, Lee affects change through education and awareness of illegal dumping."


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2849 Hits