OVILLA – The city will offer its residents a chance to clean up the community by starting in their own backyard.  

Ovilla’s annual cleanup day is scheduled from 8 a.m.-noon April 26 at the same location as in years past – just north of the police station on Cockrell Hill Road.

“This event gives Ovilla residents an opportunity to get rid of those large or bulky items filling up the garage or taking up space in back yards,” city administrator John McDonald said.  

While uncertain of when the cleanup day in Ovilla actually started, McDonald said it’s been going on for at least 10 years with always an excellent turnout.

“Cleanup day is only open to Ovilla residents,” McDonald said. “Citizens should be prepared to show their driver’s license and a recent water bill stub. If the day is rained out, it will be rescheduled.”  

Unlike some other cities in the area who offer a cleanup day, Ovilla will not accept tires, petroleum products, antifreeze, flammable liquids, paint and hazardous chemicals.

Refrigerators will only be accepted if the refrigerant is removed and the unit is properly tagged. Shredding also will not be offered this year.  

“Remember, Ovilla has bulky pickup every week on your trash day to include appliances and tree branches,” McDonald said.

While McDonald doesn’t correlate any specific reason for Ovilla’s cleanup day being held in April, earlier this month was Keep Texas Beautiful’s annual Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off.  That event saw additional cities in the area offering residents a chance to get rid of their excess waste and as many as 200,000 volunteers around the state took part in the event.

Glenn Heights, which partially sits in Ellis County, had a successful trash-off several weeks ago as well.

“Glenn Heights was actually involved in the trash-off a long time ago and now we are starting that up again,” said Connie Hearne, assistant to the city manager. “This is one of the major events as far as beautification and picking up the neighborhood.”                                                              

The Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off, which most cleanup days are affiliated with in the area, began in 1986 to remind people not to litter.  Each year, about 830 million pieces of litter accumulate on Texas’ roadways and litter pickup costs taxpayers about $36 million annually.                                                                                                                               The Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off is one of the nation’s largest one-day litter cleanup events and is held in the same month as Earth Day on April 22.                    

Earth Day was created to promote both an awareness and appreciation for the planet’s overall environment.  

Founded in 1969 by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference on the environment, Wikipedia notes that, “Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.”

Last year’s Earth Day was of the largest since 1970 with billions of people from around the world participating in activities marking the occasion. The Earth Day network unites local, national and international groups, with as many as 17,000 organizations in 174 countries participating around the world.