5 On Your Side

Woman fights to use pink trash can for breast cancer in Fuquay-Varina

Posted September 19, 2012

— The town of Fuquay-Varina voted Tuesday night to allow residents to use pink trash cans that support breast cancer research.

It was a victory for L'Tonya Meeks, who contacted 5 On Your Side in July after the town refused to remove her trash from its pink can. The decision to allow the cans came one year to the date after Meeks' friend died from breast cancer.

"I know she is somewhere saying, 'Go ahead, L'Tonya, let them know, please fight for a cure,'" she said.

Meeks had never imagined that the color of her trash can could cause so much controversy. She bought the pink can from nonprofit group 1-in-9, which raises money for breast cancer research. 

But because it's pink, the town of Fuquay Varina would not pick up her trash.

"The ordinance says we cannot pick them up," said Arthur Mouberry, who heads the town's public works department.

"Only containers supplied by the town, will be collected by the town," the ordinance states. The town supplies green cans that are nearly identical to the pink ones.

Woman wins fight to use pink trash can in Fuquay-Varina Woman wins fight to use pink trash can in Fuquay-Varina

On Tuesday, Meeks took her fight to the town commissioners.

"I'm asking for you to allow me to utilize that trash can on my normal pick-up day, which is on Monday," she said at the meeting.

Meeks was overwhelmed to find out that she didn't have to fight at all.

"My recommendation is that we absolutely allow this pink trash can," Mayor John Byrne told commissioners. "I really believe that it is the right thing to do and again, it is not a rocket scientists' work to do the right thing by our community."

A bonus that Byrne pointed out: the city will save $65 on every person who buys a pink can because the town won't have to provide one.

"I appreciate the saving on it, and I think our citizens of Fuquay-Varina will, too," he said.

Meeks said she was speechless and ecstatic over the decision.

The town will now officially revise its ordinance to allow the pink cans.

"I am going to proudly roll it out in honor of my sorority sister, in honor of Stephanie, and just everyone who is fighting (breast cancer) right now," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jcthai Sep 25, 2012

    WRAL why is the headline "Woman fights to...." Come on. You know the end of the story. The headline should reflect the story. She won her fight. How about "Woman wins fight to...." You just want to stir people up, it seems.

  • common tater Sep 24, 2012

    Why is this still on page one? Slow news period?

  • Mon Account Sep 21, 2012

    ""the ordinance says we can't pick them up"-hello, anyone with an independent brain that works? Or do we just do "what the ordinance says"- if thats the case, what would we need you in your job for-not an independent or forward thinking brain cell available, just do what you are told-or in the case what the ordinance tells you to do. Glad she won on such a non issue!"

    If her trash can wasn't compatible with the trash trucks it could have caused damage to either her property or the truck. Any non-sanctioned trash can should be skipped. It's a no-brainer.

  • CrewMax Sep 21, 2012

    I am going to put a big red stripe on my green recycle can for pro-global warming.

  • CrewMax Sep 21, 2012

    I don't want to see pink trash cans in my neighborhood, and have breast cancer non-survivors in my family. If they were alive, theybwouldn't want to see them, either.

  • common tater Sep 21, 2012

    What a waste of everyone's time and energy.

  • LuvLivingInCary Sep 21, 2012

    oh please. the money and energy spent over a few pink garbage cans is exhausting. these companies do some good things but they also have fat salary executives that spearhead the fund raising.

  • Duke _Nukem Sep 20, 2012

    I don't care.

  • tarheelgrad1998 Sep 20, 2012

    Great, now all that trash in the pink can will make a world of difference in breast cancer.

    Glad their town commissioners have nothing better to do.

  • baracus Sep 20, 2012

    "Guess it makes her feel good when she wheels the garbage to the curb and she thinks of her friend. As for me I dont think I would be thrilled to have her think of me and her trash at the same time. It be nice if she would think of a constructive and meaningful way to remember her friend."

    Yeah, if she wants to support cancer research, her money would have been better spent just cutting a cancer research center a check for $65. The whole pink, awareness thing is so played out, I am pretty sure that kids are being born "aware" of breast cancer at this point. Now I am not knocking the fight against breast cancer, but rather saying that it seems that a lot of money is being spent on advertising that would be better spent elsewhere.