SGA’s Zero Waste Schools (ZWS) Program works with school staff and students to shift operations and minds towards generating zero waste through source reduction, recycling, composting, and food recovery. ZWS has been implemented across the Chicago metro area, with current projects in Chicago; Oak Park/River Forest; Lake County and McHenry County.

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.

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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: