Zero Waste Overview

Seven Generations Ahead helps communities implement zero waste programs

Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) works with schools, businesses, institutions, and municipalities to provide support for all steps along a path to zero waste from planning to implementation.


What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a fundamentally different approach to managing materials -- one that seeks to emulate natural cycles in which all materials are designed to become resources for others. The process involves starting with the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle/Compost) and continually making incremental changes to practices while creating no emissions that harm the health of the planet or its inhabitants.

-- Based on the definition by the Zero Waste International Alliance


SGA's Zero Waste Projects:
Zero Waste Schools:

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. SGA has piloted composting and recycling programs in Chicago Public Schools, Oak Park D97, River Forest D90, private schools in Oak Park and River Forest, and more. Learn more here.

Peterson ZWAs in sorting line credit Chuck Deters


Zero Waste Event Planning:

SGA conducts training on how to organize small and large-scale zero waste events, and covers all aspects of planning including vendor relations and materials guidelines; event policies; volunteer roles and consumer education; recycling and food scrap composting signage and systems; hauler relations; day-of-event operations; and publicity. Learn more hereMB Volunteers


IL Food Scrap Coalition:

The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) is a group of more than 150 businesses, solid waste agencies, county governments, state and federal agencies, universities and non-profits that have organized to promote food scrap composting across Illinois. The IFSC grew out of a one-year food scrap composting forum planning process initiated by Seven Generations Ahead. IFSC supports research, programs, education and policy initiatives. Learn more here