Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — 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.
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.