Litter is trash that is not disposed of properly in a trash can. When it’s in the can, it becomes garbage. Anywhere else, it’s litter. Just to be clear, the following is definitely and undeniably litter:
• Cigarette butts not properly disposed of in the receptacles around town
• Cans, glass and plastic bottles
• Food, even though it will decompose
• Unidentified Flying Trash that accidentally or purposefully flies out of a car window or truck bed
Littering is against the law and you can be fined up to $500. Repeat the offense and you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail!
Discarding trash that weighs more than five pounds is considered illegal dumping and carries steeper fines. In Texas, failing to cover your pickup-truck load is against the law and carries a fine of up to $200 for the first offense and $500 for repeat offenders.
Any law enforcement officer in Texas can enforce these laws. But, our small police force has many pressing duties. As a citizen you can help enforce litter laws. First, you can refrain from littering. Second, if you see someone litter on Blanco’s streets or Texas highways, you can turn them in through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Report a Litterer program. When you see litter exit a vehicle, intentionally or accidentally, write down the following information:
• Texas license plate number (Texas plates only)
• Make of vehicle
• Time of day
• Who tossed (driver, passenger or accidental)
• What was tossed
You can report it on the web at www.dontmesswithtexas.org/report-a-litterer or mail it to TxDOT, Attn: Don’t Mess with Texas, PO Box 149248, Austin, TX 78714.
TxDOT compares the information to their vehicle registration database and when an exact match is located, they send the litterer a Don’t Mess with Texas litter bag along with a letter reminding them to keep their trash off of our roads.
Blanco Citizens have been known to take the litter problem seriously. Ron Houston was a great supporter of citizen responsibility in Keeping Blanco Beautiful. KBB meets weekly to keep the area around the Square looking good. On a more personal level, one resident observed a neighbor driving off, leaving the trash from his lunch on “flat rock.” The good citizen collected the trash and returned to the litterer informing him that “he had forgotten something.” Several Blanconians routinely pick up trash as they walk along our streets. This can be quite profitable as money, high quality thermal coffee mugs, unopened cans of beer, expensive pocket knives, fishing tackle and all sorts of hardware are just some of the items found along with trash. Carry a “Super S” bag when you walk your dog or stroll over to your neighbor’s and gather up trash along the way! You can feel good about doing something to clean up Blanco and the Lone Star State.
By Pat Vallone
Ask and you shall receive… We asked for new volunteers and we have a new person. We are glad to welcome Sally Walsh, who came this past Tuesday. This was the first day to work since that article came out. She did a wonderful job and told Judy she would be back! Judy said they accomplished several jobs after having so many weeks when the weather did not permit working outside. They finished removing the Christmas lights and cords. PEC came Friday and removed the ones in tops of trees, so all the Christmas decorations are put away until next November.
Hopefully we will start having good weather on Tuesdays as there is so much work to be done in City Park and on the pots of plants. I always say working outside on the plants, etc., is good for the soul. Just take a Tuesday and come try working and see if it makes you feel good and rewarded for what you are doing.
Our 12th annual clean-up will be coming in April. Keep watching our article for news on this day. Blanco really rallies together and cleans up the town.