*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on January 7, 2021. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.

Say you’re in Pueblo and you need to get rid of something like a mattress or a tire or a beer bottle—Joy Morauski knows where you can stick it. She put the “joy” in recycling in Pueblo.

You know that overused graduation expression? “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has,” by Margaret Mead.

That’s Joy.

She’s lived in Pueblo for decades, spent the last 20 years working for the city. She noticed how much illegal dumping was wrecking her city’s natural beauty, and so, spurred on by her graduate school project at UCCS, Joy wrote a grant to build a recycling center in Pueblo.

It worked, and about three years ago, Pueblo Recycleworks was born. Even as the pandemic forced it to close for nearly a month, Pueblo Recycleworks grew by over 10 percent last year.

That’s five tons of cardboard compacted every two weeks for re-use, bins full of plastics and papers, and a place where Puebloans can turn in old tires and mattresses for next to nothing.

Joy’s quick to point out that she had a lot of help in seeing this project through, from City Council to other departments. It took a team.

Still, she represents the best of what government can be—creative initiative that makes lives better.

Outside of work, Joy’s an artist. A potter.

That makes Pueblo Recyleworks Joy’s largest act of creation yet, and it’s making Pueblo more beautiful every single day.

Be good, be well, and remember to find joy in recycling whenever you can. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.

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