What do you think of when you think pink?
Baby girls? Champagne for special occasions? Singer Marty Robbins and his “white sport coat and a pink carnation …” from long ago pops charts?
But garbage cans? Pink? Hardly.
Unless, that is, the eye-catching pink can is meant to endorse a worthy cause such as the Susan B. Komen Foundation, an organization that exists to seek a cure for breast cancer. Its trademark color is pink.
Pink garbage cans do exist, and one has made its way into Fuquay-Varina and into the news, prompting a call for a town ordinance amendment.
The pink receptacle belongs to L’Tonya Meeks, a newcomer to town. She appeared before the town’s commissioners recently seeking a waiver or some other action that would allow her to use the pink garbage collection container rather than the green one supplied by the town.
Hers is important to her because she bought it from the organization “1 in 9” which sells them to raise money to help women in poverty who are struggling with breast cancer. L’Tonya lost a sorority sister and close friend to the dreaded disease. She bought the can, she says, in her friend’s honor.
But when she moved to Fuquay recently, she put the pink container out by the curb on garbage pickup day; it was not emptied. She complained at town hall and was shown a town ordinance stating the town picks up trash only from town issued garbage cans. She suggested she could paint her town can pink, but was advised that could lead to charges of vandalizing town property.
Arthur Mouberry, the town’s public works director, who is in charge of the municipal garbage collection program, told Ms. Meeks she could appeal to the town board. In the meantime he sent an employee out to pick up her trash that first week, but emphasized it could not be done routinely because of an existing ordinance that requires all citizens to use town-issued containers.
She went first to WRAL’s Five on Your Side investigative reporter to tell of her complaint. Her story was aired. Then on Sept. 18 she spoke to the town board. Mayor John Byrne, who had heard her story before the meeting, proved an enthusiastic supporter, urging other board members to support some type of ordinance change that would allow the pink container to be used.
Commissioner Ed Ridpath hesitated, wondering if such a change might prompt other citizens to ask for permission to use cans bearing their favorite ball team’s colors or other special interests.
But board members went along with a suggestion that Town Manager Jon Barlow be asked to come up with an ordinance amendment that would allow some variance from the present requirement that all garbage cans must be government issue and that means green.
Barlow then asked Mouberry, whose duties include overseeing the town’s garbage pickup system, to work on a proposal that would meet the commissioners’ request. Mouberry said last week he will suggest that the ordinance remain as is and that any special request for a variance be taken to the board.