Trash4Cash, a new Don’t Mess with Texas competition by the Texas Department of Transportation, is rewarding on-campus student organizations with $1,000 for getting rid of litter in their communities.

The Orange County community might see some extra trash cleanups in the Bridge City area, as high school groups across the state begin competing in a new Don’t Mess with Texas contest called Trash4Cash.  Winning will ultimately benefit their on-campus group.  Any Texas high school can sign on board for the challenge.

School groups will compete against others from around the state by organizing litter prevention efforts in their community, such as cleaning up a local park or teaching children about not littering.

Groups will be judged on creativity surrounding their litter prevention efforts, getting media coverage about their projects and making a positive impact on their community.

High school groups like environmental and journalism clubs, honor societies, football teams, bands or student councils are encouraged to submit a group entry and compete against their rivals for cash prizes. Five school groups in Texas will each win $1,000 to use as they like, donated by TxDOT sponsor Raytheon.

“Regardless of who takes home the cash, everybody wins,” said Doris Howdeshell, Travel Information Division Director for TxDOT, the organizer of Trash4Cash.

“Communities with school groups that compete in Trash4Cash will be cleaner, and participating students have an opportunity to demonstrate ‘green’ leadership, showing potential universities the volunteer projects they’ve worked on.”

Student groups can submit materials online or by mail starting Jan. 5, 2009. The litter prevention activities must be completed by March 31, 2009, and all information is due by April 6, 2009. Every organization must work under the direction of a counselor, sponsor or principal to be eligible. Complete rules and submission information are posted at