Keep Orange County Beautiful part of creating a better community

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 24, 2019

J David Derosier

When I first moved to Orange back around 2005, it was from Canada. A former in-law (now affectionately referred to as the Out-Law) introduced me to a group called Keep Orange County Beautiful (KOCB). My first real friends, outside of the family,

Long before I arrived, KOCB had been aligned with the Browns over in Pinehurst Gardens, next to the Brown Estate owned by Lamar State College-Orange.

The group consisted mainly of master gardeners and friends with an interest in trees, gardening, and anti-litter. There were a horticulturist and writer, the head of the County Extension Service, even a CPA. Since then, we’ve had members of the Pinehurst and West Orange city councils, as well as Shangri La and a host of others on our board.

Now it’s 2019, the Outlaw is still here, the master gardener influence is still there, so is the CPA, so am I. We also have representation from the Orange Leader, city code enforcement, even a retired chemical plant administrator.


When I first joined, funding for activities came from plant sales and the sale of lilies and bulbs from Pinehurst Gardens. More recently, grants have been received from the Malloy foundation, Stark Foundation, TCEQ, SETX Resource Conservation & Development Council, and others.

What has KOCB Done?

  • Periodic Beautification Awards have been given out to residences, businesses, and non-profits to recognize their efforts towards beautifying their area, hopefully with the side effect of encouraging the neighbors to do the same. Nominations for the award can be entered by the public on the website ( at any time.
  • Electronic Waste Recycling collected several dumpster loads of computers, refrigerators, televisions, and anything else “with a plug or a battery”, saving it all from being buried in the county landfill.
  • Used/Abandoned tire collection and recycling was added this year in Orange by KOCB with the Shangri La Trash-Off. Another is being scheduled for Vidor before summer, and we are in the planning stages in Bridge City. All at no cost to the cities themselves.
  • Introduced The Litter Button on the KOCB website opening a direct line with TX-DOT for people to report littering they observe on the streets. Although TX DOT cannot send the violators a ticket, they will send an official letter giving them notice that they have been identified and give them a Don’t Mess With Texas litter bag to keep in their car so they won’t throw more out on the street.
  • Sabine River Cleanup by airboat netted 18 refrigerators, 50 tires, more than 300 large trash bags of plastics, glass and metal bottles, the back seat of an automobile, ice coolers, and tackle boxes and other litter. Even a dead hog carcass.
  • Crepe Myrtles were planted along Strickland Drive in Pinehurst and along Green Ave, 16th Street, and Simmons Drive in the City of Orange.


The Trashy Ladies

Most recently, a small group of the directors, who identify themselves as The Trashy Ladies, started going around and talking to city councils about updating city ordinances on litter and increasing fines. Pinehurst and West Orange have already done so. Bridge City has created a Beautification Committee, and the City of Orange is doing a once-a-month trash pickup led by the mayor.


FOCUS: Ten years ago, as a business planning exercise, KOCB defined its focus as TREES & TRASH.


Why Trees

Trees and plants absorb and remove contaminants from soil and groundwater. They cool and cleanse the air, increase property values, break harsh winds, and provide habitat for wildlife and recreation.

Some of the KOCB projects have included tree plantings, such as at the Salvation Army after Rita, and the crepe myrtles that line Strickland Drive, and pines planted along MacArthur Drive in front of the shopping center. Most are still there doing their quiet work for us. Unfortunately, the pines on MacArthur Drive were cut down by the mall after being there for more than a decade. Promises were made about putting in others to mitigate the removals…but nothing has been done.


Why Trash

We used to put our litter into the landfills and it would decompose. Today the chances are good that the refuse is thrown away in Orange actually originated in South East Texas when a petrochemical plant made the pellets used to create plastic containers. Much of this petrochemical product that gets thrown away does not decompose, even after 100 years.

Unfortunately, the Trash does not go away, no matter how hard we try, or how often it gets picked up. I remember picking up Simmons Drive from the Boat Ramp to Bluebird Fish Camp one year at a Trash-Off. By the time we returned to the Boat Ramp, trash had returned to the same areas we had just picked up.

According to a report released this week by Center for International Environmental Law and other environmental groups, the equivalent air pollution of 189 coal-fired power plants will be released as greenhouse gas emissions this year by the plastics industry. That’s a lot!!

When we prevent litter, when we recycle, we are doing our part, as small as that is, in postponing the inevitable climate changes that we hear so much about.

If we don’t take care of our litter, it will kill us. If we don’t learn to recycle it, more and more will be made. 



Trees: We all should be doing our part by planting more trees, especially large canopy trees. They are not only beautiful, but they also improve the quality of the air we breathe.


Trash: A lot more needs to be done about the litter issues and they are now being recognized by more and more citizens. The Trashy Ladies have played a key role in raising awareness in the area, so has Shangri La and the mayor of Orange.

Perhaps the most effective way to combat litter is to have serious consequences (like BIG fines) for violations and strong enforcement by local governments. If people tossing their papers and cups after getting a to-go meal have to pay $500 or $1,000 in fines, they will learn to think twice before doing it again.



Think about talking to your government representatives at the city, county, state, even national levels and tell them that you support anti-litter laws and their enforcement. Tell them that you would like to see more trees planted, not just taken down. And tell them The Trashy Ladies sent you.

 If we all had a better focus on Trees and Trash, we’d be in a better place, as would our children.

 David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at