SGA receives funding from the Full Circle Foundation to bring zero waste to schools in McHenry County. SGA’s Zero Waste Schools team is pleased to partner with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County Waste Reduction Action Team on these efforts.

In May 2022, Seven Generations Ahead teamed up with Huntley Community School District 158’s Food Service Director, Richard Reed, to conduct food waste audits as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s Food Waste Warriors Project. On the day of the audits, SGA, along with help from students and school faculty, diverted over 500 pounds of food waste from the landfill. 

The data gathered, not only showcased the large amount of food waste being generated by schools, but also helped the district identify solutions to this problem. The audit results helped make the case that implementing commercial composting could keep up to 25% of materials (by weight) out of the landfill every day and share tables could divert an additional 25%. 

Measuring and reducing food waste in schools, and engaging students in the process, is key to addressing the larger problem of food waste and can mean enormous benefits for our environment.


SGA worked with Heineman Middle School, another school in Huntley S.D. 158, on a new project that guides schools through the process of reducing waste at the source. The ZWS team conducted a lunchroom waste audit with support from students, reviewed the waste audit data, and then brainstormed zero waste initiatives with staff and students. The ideas generated served as a basis for creating a Zero Waste Roadmap that was customized to Heineman’s specific needs. 

The Zero Waste Roadmap details short, medium, and long term actions, in addition to providing links to key resources, allowing the school to move forward on waste reduction strategies. The Roadmap process and its results will help inform waste reduction efforts throughout the district.