Our Zero Waste Schools Program works with school staff and students to shift operations and minds towards generating zero waste through source reduction, recycling, composting, and food recovery.

Seven Generations Ahead:  

Zero waste is a path, and SGA’s role lies in meeting schools where they are in the process and supporting the changes needed until zero waste is the new normal for our schools and our next generation of environmental leaders. On average, area schools we have supported in implementing commercial composting and recycling programs divert as much as 80-85% from the landfill.

For more information contact us at zerowaste@sevengenerationsahead.org

Impact of Going Zero Waste

Through this program, SGA educates and empowers students to use their knowledge in their schools and in their communities. The impact of the program is best communicated by those who have been involved in the zero waste programs at their schools: 

“At my elementary school, we didn’t do this. The fact that we’re sharing this experience is amazing. We didn’t do anything at home before this either– no recycling, nothing. You’d be surprised; a lot of kids do care. Some might do it at first as a service learning project, but once they see the impact, they want to be on the Zero Waste Team.” Solorio High School student

 “Zero Waste has helped the community by teaching our younger generation how to compost. This results in students being able to carry these skills into adulthood and being able to save the environment in the long-run.” Solorio High School student

“Our students are truly in tune with what is going on in the world around them and want to take an active role in making a difference.” Oak Terrace Elementary School associate principal

“I’m so happy we finally have composting! I have been waiting for this.” Oak Park River Forest High School student

“Are other schools doing this? I think all schools should have a composting program. It’s good for the earth.”
McAuliffe Elementary School lunchroom supervisor

“Since the start of Zero Waste, the students are learning how to make better choices and are learning that a small action can bring about big change.” Braeside Elementary School parent

Our Zero Waste Curriculum

Don’t Throw Me Away: A Zero Waste Curriculum

Fill out this form to download the curriculum:


Getting Back on Track with Zero Waste
Determined to overcome pandemic challenges and interruptions, schools in SGA’s Zero Waste Schools-Lake County Program have made it a priority to get their zero waste lunchrooms back up and running.…
Toolkit Helps Schools Reduce Food Waste
Greta Kringle, a chemistry and environmental science teacher at Solorio Academy High School, a Chicago Public School, makes sure her students learn more about waste than they probably ever wanted…
SGA webinar makes the case for reusable foodware
SGA’s Zero Waste Schools program hosted more than 90 attendees from around the country for its March 16 webinar, School cafeterias reimagined: The case for reusable foodware. The webinar was…
Solorio students host Pumpkin Smash
Leading the way to increased composting awareness in Chicago, the Zero Waste Team from Solorio High School coordinated a Pumpkin Smash for their Gage Park community on Nov. 7. Typically…