Salisbury man strives to help others battle litter

By Richard Caines
Posted 5/7/24

SALISBURY — Craig Faunce might walk a bit slower these days, but he is more determined than ever to help make Salisbury the cleanest city in Maryland. His latest mission is equipping citizens …

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Salisbury man strives to help others battle litter


SALISBURY — Craig Faunce might walk a bit slower these days, but he is more determined than ever to help make Salisbury the cleanest city in Maryland.

His latest mission is equipping citizens with the tools necessary to pick up litter throughout Salisbury — particularly arming them with a bucket, trash pickup tool, rubber gloves, safety vest and trash bags. During a recent day in May, Faunce walked around Salisbury City Park for more than an hour, picking up whatever captured his eye.

“I think this can change Salisbury,” Faunce said. “I’m giving them away. People donate them or I buy them. I just bought 20 buckets.

“So, when people come to the park, I’ll give them everything they need to clean their neighborhood. Maybe a block. Maybe two blocks. It doesn’t matter, anything helps.”

Faunce has been featured by various media entities for his efforts over the years, even garnering attention from the city of Salisbury in 2021, which designated March 3 as Craig Faunce Day. But he wants his latest plan to inspire even more change just as he faces multiple health obstacles.

He recently created a social media hashtag #cleansby, which he hopes others will use. Faunce additionally plans to hold upcoming cleaning events in various parts of the city, where he plans to distribute the various cleaning supplies.

He held an event May 4 in the bandstand area of Salisbury City Park and his next event is May 18 in the park near the Salisbury Zoo. Future events can be found on his website at

The 59-year-old brother and father of two has a goal to distribute at least 250 kits by the end of October.

“I can’t clean this whole city myself, but if you distribute more of these pickers around the city and people do just what it did, the difference is going to be massive,” Faunce said. “I’ll do it for the rest of my life or for as long as I can walk. But there is going to be a time when I can’t.

“Because I’ve done enough and I’m tired. So, I want to get these things out there and get people to help so one day I can look back and smile.”

Faunce usually goes on the hunt bi-weekly for litter, determined to make Salisbury a better place to live or visit for everyone. On May 1, he slowly made a trek around the city park, stopping at various points to take in nature and at times, shaking his head.

“Earth Day was awesome but it’s one day,” Faunce said, while lifting multiple cigarette butts and placing them into his white bucket. “Why does that stop? Since Earth Day, I have probably picked up 500 pounds of trash myself.”

Faunce has found plastic, food, cell phones, drug paraphernalia, dirty diapers and coffee cups on his weekly adventures. He also said by the end of summer he will have a bucket full of discarded vape pens.

“I’m trying to get people to come to the park regularly, bi-weekly or even for a few minutes,” Faunce said. “I want the park to become a leave-no-trace environment.”

Faunce stressed the city does a great job of cleaning the trash cans in the park, even the area surrounding them. But he said seeing discarded cigarette butts is a pet peeve of his.

“They are all going to make their way to the river eventually,” Faunce said.

The Rockville native, who has battled two bouts of bladder cancer and fought off a leg amputation, moved to the city in September 2020. He goes back to the doctor in June to get another cancer screening. He has also suffered heart attacks but has no plans of stopping just yet.

“Honestly, I would not be alive without picking up trash,” Faunce said. “I weighed 100 more pounds when I got here. I was horribly out of shape. I just walked out of my house one day and started cleaning. I didn’t expect to be retired.”

Faunce said his love of nature came from his parents who were fond of traveling as he grew up. One year they took him to Yosemite National Park in California, and he noticed the lack of litter.

“I was raised in a different time,” Faunce said.

Faunce said that there have been a lot of people involved in making Salisbury cleaner over the years, with multiple individuals and groups having other successful cleaning events in the city, not just him.

“We are all sort of a team,” Faunce said. “It’s not about me. It’s about getting all these people together. You meet people and it’s healthy. All you are doing is walking, but instead, you are looking down with a tool in your hand.”

He also said he hopes businesses in the area pay attention to the exterior parts of their stores, even if only putting up a no litter sign.

“I just had carpal tunnel surgery,” Faunce said. “I’ve got cancer and I’m fighting a leg amputation. C’mon, if I can do it, anyone can.”

Reach Managing Editor Richard Caines at

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