Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) implements the Zero Waste Schools-Lake County Program in partnership with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO). The program is currently being implemented in 3-5 kindergarten through 12th grade Lake County schools.

Started in Lake County in the 2018-2019 school year, the program is modeled after SGA’s work with the Chicago Public Schools Commercial Composting & Recycling Program, in which 14 schools divert roughly 85% by weight of lunchroom waste from landfills through commercial composting, recycling, and share tables.  

As with the CPS program, the Lake County schools will launch commercial composting, recycling, and other waste reduction efforts in their lunchrooms and kitchens. SGA and SWALCO conduct waste audits, provide onsite logistical guidance, and teach all students and staff the How and Why of going for zero waste. Schools are expected to divert at least 85% of lunchroom landfill waste while normalizing composting, recycling, and resource conservation for a new generation of student environmental leaders. North Shore Gas and SWALCO fund the project.

Participating Schools

Rondout Elementary School (Rondout School District 72, Lake Forest, IL)

Red Oak Elementary School (North Shore District 112, Highland Park, IL)

Braeside Elementary School (North Shore District 112, Highland Park, IL)

Oak Terrace Elementary School (North Shore School District 112, Highwood, IL)

Northwood Jr. High School at Elm Place (North Shore School District 112, Highwood, IL)


Rondout Elementary School produces only 0.02 lbs of waste per student, that’s way below the national average of 0.5 lbs per student!