SGA’s Zero Waste Schools Program began at Holmes Elementary School in Oak Park in 2008. The program has subsequently expanded to all of Oak Park District 97 and River Forest District 90, as well as the other schools listed below. The Oak Park and River Forest Zero Waste Program is now funded by PlanItGreen through the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation.

Participating Schools

District 97

Beye Elementary School

Brooks Middle School

Hatch Elementary School

Holmes Elementary School

Irving Elementary School

Julian Middle School

Lincoln Elementary School

Longfellow Elementary School

Mann Elementary School

Whittier Elementary School

District 90

Lincoln Elementary School

Roosevelt Middle School

Willard Elementary School

District 200

Oak Park and River Forest High School 

Private Schools

Ascension Elementary School

St. Giles Elementary School 

The Children’s School

Trinity High School


Collectively, Oak Park and River Forest schools divert an average of 85% of their lunchroom waste from landfills through recycling and commercial composting.

Oak Park and River Forest High School began kitchen composting in 2012. In 2016, they started participating in the Surplus Project, in which cafeteria staff repackages surplus prepared foods into individual meals that volunteers from the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry deliver to Youth Outreach Services.

Irving School launched a zero waste lunchroom program in December 2017 and in one day diverted 138 lbs of waste from the landfill.

Beye Elementary School diverts 96% of its lunchroom waste from landfill– typically generating a mere 2 lbs of lunchroom trash per day for its 425 students.

All 10 District 97 schools are now equipped for commercial composting.

The Oak Park and River Forest Green Team Collaborative leads the way to zero waste schools through a collaborative effort between parents, school/district staff and administration, and Seven Generations Ahead. The group that meets throughout the school year focuses on reducing waste in schools, in an effort that connects to food, garden, composting and more. The group is used to share best practices and ideas between schools to reduce waste, recycle, compost and teach students to be environmental leaders.