RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina man is going above and beyond to keep our state beautiful.
Daniel Toben likes to pick up litter. It’s a hobby he enjoys because he loves the environment. He’s filled over 8,300 bags already and picked up over 8 million pieces of trash from streams and roads.
“It’s just very fun for me and it connects me with other people,” said Toben.
He started picking up trash 10 years ago when he was a student at North Carolina State University.
“When I was a student at N.C. State, I found that cleaning up this one stream was kind of like my sanctuary space. I could go there and feel my best while also making a difference,” said Toben.
His love for cleaning up his home is having a ripple effect around the country. Daniel is very popular on TikTok with nearly 380,000 followers who love to watch him pick up trash.
“I had one TikTok video where people responded to me saying things like we have to contribute to this guy. We must like help him out,” he said.
His followers loved his love for cleaning up North Carolina that they decided to send up $4,000 dollars so he could buy litter supplies.
“I’ve done it so much now that it’s part of my personality. Anyone who has done as a hobby long enough it kind of becomes ingrained in them,” Toben said.
When people reach out wanting to help, he welcomes them. It not only connects him with other people but it is getting more people out to clean North Carolina’s roads.
Toben said most of the trash he finds seems intentionally thrown out on the road.
“It can be disappointing because like you will go through one neighborhood, and you get the feeling that people are just driving through this neighborhood, not even living there, and throwing their trash there,” he said.
Toben has been helping the North Carolina Department of Transportation with its annual spring litter sweep, which runs through Saturday.
You can find Toben on TikTok if you want to help him pick up trash. His TikTok username is his name.