Trash Free Texas

Basin-wide Community Engagement Strategies to Reduce Aquatic Debris

H-GAC has partnered with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment to establish a unified, coordinated approach to litter abatement and community engagement in the six river basins in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston-Galveston regions.

In Texas, over 435 million pieces of visible litter accumulate on roadways each year. It is in our community, the sides of our roads, in our rivers, and along our beaches. Litter control efforts cost the American taxpayers over $11 billion each year. And approximately 80% of the trash in our waterways originates from land-based sources, such as roadways. This project aims to address this issue.

The Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston-Galveston areas represent well-over 50% of the state’s total population and are connected through these basins and ultimately impact Galveston Bay and adjacent areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Trash removal from these watersheds requires an ongoing, significant effort that comes with great expense to local governments and many non-profit partners.

Project Goals

Through this 3-year project, we seek to:

  1. Increase Adopt-A-Spot locations through Trash Free Texas and support a common Trash Collection Database for the state.

  2. Provide outreach and engagement support for regional clean-up events through partnerships with local governments, recreational clubs (such as cycling and running clubs), and Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates.

  3. Work with Texas-based restaurants to reduce the use of single-use plastic.

  4. Share project successes with other councils of government and replicate this work across the state.

Trash Free Texas Newsletter

In March 2021, H-GAC launched the first issue of the Trash Free Texas Monthly News and Updates.

This monthly newsletter will offer more information about Trash Free Texas, an initiative by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and partners aimed at reducing or eliminating litter along area waterways. The newsletter will also feature litter reduction efforts from our partners across the region.

Join our mailing list if you are interested in receiving this monthly update or sharing news about your litter reduction activities.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

Plastic Reduction Work Group - Meeting #2

Date and Time
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Time: 1:30 to 3 p.m.


The Plastic Reduction Work Group will meet online to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and resources available to restaurants, third-party delivery services, and manufacturers to reduce the frequency of single-use plastic use.

Trash Free Texas Adopt-A-Spot Map Webinar

Date and Time
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Time: 9 to 10 a.m.


The Adopt-A-Spot Map is a free web-based tool that helps to connect volunteers to places in need of routine litter cleanup while allowing cities, counties, and organizations to maintain control of their own litter cleanup programs. Participants will hear from Trash Free Texas staff and partners and are encouraged to ask questions about how the tool can help meet their cleanup goals.

Past Meetings and Events

Attendees learned how to use the updated Adopt-A-Spot online tool, including how to submit new location for adoption and how to become a waterway cleanup volunteer.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Trash Free Texas program connects local government leaders and Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates with data to help them strategically identify and adopt areas in need of clean up. Trash Free Texas hosts the “Adopt-a-Spot” site and Online Mapping Tool, created to foster a litter-free environment in Texas watersheds and track trash removal activities. Learn more here

This project is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters Grant Program. Learn more here.

The timeline for this project is September 2020 - August 31, 2023.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is a voluntary association of, by and for local governments, and was established to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development. Learn more here.

The Meadows Center is a leader in water and environment management and policy topics in Texas, the U.S. and internationally. The Meadows Center supports responsible natural resource and water policy in Texas and convenes stakeholders to address critical water and natural resource concerns and the grand challenges that we will face in the decades to come. Learn more about The Meadows Center.

There are many ways to become involved! Check the project website for details on upcoming trainings, work group meetings, and potential cleanup events.