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Local man picks up nearly 10,000 bags of trash from NC highways, streams

[June 14, 2021: Heather Leah]

Between working multiple jobs and going to college over the past several years, a Triangle-area man spends his weekends picking up litter all over the community.

On any given weekend you might find Daniel Toben sweeping litter up and down I-40, or picking trash out of a local stream or park.

Even during the pandemic, he spent days picking up litter, writing, "The government said, 'while maintaining social distancing, take a trash bag while you stretch your legs,' so I cleaned up a whole entrance to the lake today."

His antics in kindness have gone viral on TikTok and Reddit, where he shares posts updating how many bags of trash he's picked up so far.


How many bags has he picked up?

So many, he's lost count.

"It's over 8,400 for me, and at least a couple thousand for other people who go with me," he said.

The 8,400 bags date back to April, but he's been busy continuing trash pick-ups since then.

Just this weekend he posted another photo, shared after he and his friend picked up another mountain of trash from an NC highway. The image shows his friend posing with the huge pile of full trash bags behind him.


It gained over 100,000 upvotes on Reddit.

Toben also shares updates on TikTok, where his videos inspire others to get out there and do good in their own communities. With over 3 million likes, it's safe to say his kindness is having a ripple effect.

"I started because I really wanted a peaceful place to unwind on campus while in college," said Toben. "When I went on walks around NC State, I found trash everywhere."

Dubbed the "Triangle Trash Guy" by IndyWeek, his work is gaining traction across the Triangle.

So the next time you see a perfect, green park or bubbling stream without a trace of litter – it really might be because of Toben's influence.

And if you see a piece of litter – pick it up!


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