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News / Health / Breast Cancer

What’s with those pink waste bins?

Waste Connections raising awareness, funds to fight breast cancer

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian Managing Editor for Content
Published: October 6, 2019, 5:20am
2 Photos
Waste Connections circulates a Pink Lemonade Project recycling truck through Clark County and supports the nonprofit through a pink cart program.
Waste Connections circulates a Pink Lemonade Project recycling truck through Clark County and supports the nonprofit through a pink cart program. (Photos from The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

If you’ve seen pink recycling carts and wondered what garbage service has to do with fighting breast cancer, the gimmick worked.

In 2012, Waste Connections debuted pink recycling carts, which are available to its customers for a $100 donation to the Pink Lemonade Project. In 2017, Waste Connections painted one of its recycling trucks pink as a mobile billboard for the nonprofit.

“We strategically move that truck around the country to generate conversations,” said Derek Ranta, district manager for Waste Connections.

The company has steadily supported the Pink Lemonade Project almost since its inception. Drs. Allen and Cassie Gabriel founded the nonprofit in 2010 to help patients as they struggle with the emotional and psychological aspects of breast cancer diagnosis and recovery.

Waste Connections has donated about $200,000 to the nonprofit since 2012, as calculated by Meaghann Ande, Pink Lemonade’s executive director. This single donor accounted for 10 percent of Pink Lemonade’s revenue in 2018, she said.

“It’s a very large chunk of our budget,” Ande said. “They are a huge part of what we do.”

The company’s commitment to helping breast cancer patients originated with former Waste Connections regional vice president Rob Nielsen, who has since transferred to Houston to run the company’s southern division, Ranta said.

Nielsen lost his sister-in-law, Deedra Rosamund, to breast cancer when she was 35 years old. One of her final wishes was for her family to support a local breast cancer charity.

“We continue to do that,” Ranta said.

Seven years into the program, about 600 carts are in circulation, he said, and they continue to generate questions: “How can I get a pink cart? How can I help?”

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