The recycling program in Curitiba is unique, taking care of the lower class while helping the environment. Curitibanos now recycle over 70% of their garbage, in a program that costs no more than the old landfills. The city is cleaner, its people have more jobs, and the poor receive food and transportation. The well being of the lower class is valued as an integral part of the city's program.
Poor residents have been able to bring their waste to neighborhood centers, where they have exchanged garbage for bus tokens and food since 1991. In additon, there are exchanges in which parents or schools trade recyclable garbage for notebooks. The city also has an Open University and transforms old buses into mobile schools that teach sustainability.
In addition to the Open University, many of the city's institutions offers workshops, seminars, courses, conferences, and exhibitions on urban planning and themes related to sustainability.