IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 5|1. Is plastic fantastic?
1. How would our daily lives be without plastic?
List six objects made of plastic that you use regularly. Then decide with a partner whether each object could be made from another material, such as metal, glass or paper.
2. Why are so many products made of plastic?
Discuss this question in groups of four, considering the factors below.
3. Each choose one of the factors from exercise 2 and make some notes, which you will use in a brief presentation later in this lesson.
Include examples of plastic products to illustrate your ideas.
1. Check you understand the words in the box.
Then select words that collocate with verbs 1-8 below. (Two words aren’t used.) List all possible collocations. You will hear some in the next listening task.
In IELTS Listening Section 2, you will hear a monologue on a general topic. There are likely to be two different question types within the section, for example sentence and table completion. For these particular tasks short answers are required and you must read the instructions carefully to find out how many words to use (a maximum of one, two or three). You may have to write a number for some questions.
1. You are going to hear two separate recordings about the uses of plastics.
Before you listen to each recording, identify what kind of information is missing, and predict possible answers with a partner. Then listen carefully and fill in the spaces.
Complete the sentences below.
Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND / OR A NUMBER for each answer.
Complete the notes below.
Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND / OR A NUMBER for each answer.
A history of the Plastic bag
In the Speaking Module, you will have to talk on a topic for up to two minutes. During the minute you are given to prepare for this, decide how you will introduce and link your ideas. Remember to include some examples to support what you say.
1. Can you add any more ideas or product examples from the recordings?
2. Present your ideas, focusing on the factor you chose (cost, weight, etc.). Use some of the sentence openers below to structure your ideas. Try to keep talking for at least one minute.
I’m going to talk about…
The aspect/factor/issue I’ve looked at is…
What I’m going to cover is…
The main reason why…
Last but not least,…
Consider…, for example.
Take… as one example of…
In the case of…
3. Read the diary entries below and say which everyday problem is being illustrated. Does this happen to you? Why, or why not?
4. Describe the process shown in this diagram, using the underlined words as part of the present simple passive.
1. Read the above article about the plastic bag. How serious a problem does the writer consider this form of pollution to be?
* about 600 words
For a growing number of people, the humble plastic bag has become an unnecessary evil that must be stopped. Discarded carrier bags litter our towns and countryside, they kill wildlife and hang around in the environment for decades. Landfill operators dislike them for their annoying habit of being blown away hum their intended burial site. The only people who have a good word to say about them are those in the plastic-bag industry. Big surprise, you might say, but in fact, the industry’s arguments do make some sense. Objectively, plastic bags are nowhere near the world’s worst environmental problem. The reason they are being picked on, the industry claims, is because they are an easy and emotive target.
Like it or not, the plastic bag has become a part of our is lives, and today most people around the world don’t use anything else to carry their shopping in. Depending on who is asked, the UK gets through somewhere between 9 billion and 17 billion plastic bags a year. Globally, we carry home between 500 billion and a trillion annually, which is 150 bags a year for every single person on Earth, or, to put it another way, a million a minute and rising. Shocking as these statistics are, they don’t explain why plastic bags have become so hated.
Given that there are far more voracious uses of fossil fuels than the production of high-density polyethylene used to make the bags, the argument is possibly more about aesthetics than wasting resources. After they have been carried home, bags may be re-used once, but most end up at landfill sites. A proportion will try to escape somewhere along the way, blustering around the streets or flapping annoyingly in trees. This irritating habit has earned them a variety of nicknames round the world, such as ‘white pollution’ in China, and the ‘national flower’ in South Africa.
Plastic bags can also have a devastating effect on sea creatures. There have been a number of cases recently where they have been ingested by turtles and whales, leading to internal obstruction and death. The Planet Ark Environmental Foundation in Sydney, Australia, estimates that tens of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds are killed every year from plastic bag litter, far out at sea. Yet at the seaside, plastic bags make up only a tiny proportion of actual litter, with plastic bottles featuring higher in the list.
According to the Carrier Bag Consortium, a group of UK suppliers which was set up in 2002 to fight the anti-bag campaign, measures like the Irish bag tax have done nothing to reduce the consumption or solve the problem of disposal of plastic bags. The Consortium likes to point out that plastic bags have among the highest re-use rates of any disposable product and, what is more, they so are more energy-efficient to manufacture and transport than bulkier, heavier alternatives like paper or cardboard. Unsurprisingly, the industry takes issue with being blamed for General environmental irresponsibility.
So if plastic bags aren’t as bad as they are made out to be, are governments and green campaigners jumping on the wrong bandwagon? Well, yes and no. While the plastic carrier may have been made a scapegoat, it is also true that if you want people to think about sustainability, an everyday object that most of them already feel guilty er about is a good place to start. Governments have realised that by focusing on something so symbolic, they can get messages across to people about their behaviour and how the environment is and will continue to be affected by it, unless we all undertake some lifestyle changes.
2. Answer questions 1-8. To locate the information, underline key words and match them to a word or phrase in the passage that is similar in meaning. The words for 1 have been underlined for you.
If you are asked to complete notes or sentences with words from the reading passage, you must use these words, rather than other words that mean the same. Make sure you copy the words correctly, as you will lose marks for incorrect spelling.
The passive + infinitive
Passive forms of verbs like say, think, claim are often followed by an infinitive, particularly in academic writing:
Plastic bags are sometimes claimed to be the worst form of pollution.
The infinitive and -ing form can be passive (in bold).
Many people want the production of plastic bags to be reduced.
Sea creatures risk being harmed by plastic bags.
1. Complete these sentences using the passive form of the verbs in brackets.
2. Complete the sentences with a verb from the box, writing it in the passive form given in brackets.
|be find invent keep make relate use|
EXAMPLE: Food storage (modal perfect passive) must have been very different before the invention of plastics.
3. Finish the second sentences so that they mean the same as the first, using passive forms. The agent with by is not always needed.
- Active packaging keeps food fresh for longer.
- Food _____ .
- Food is kept fresh for longer by active packaging.
versatile /ˈvɜː.sə.taɪl/ /ˈvɝː.sə.t̬ə l/ adjective APPROVING
able to change easily from one activity to another or able to be used for many different purposes
He’s a very versatile young actor who’s as happy in horror films as he is in TV comedies.
A leather jacket is a timeless and versatile garment that can be worn in all seasons.
versatility /ˌvɜː.səˈtɪl.ɪ.ti/ /ˌvɝː.səˈtɪl.ə.t̬i/ noun [ U ] – the quality of being versatile (=able to change easily or to be used for different purposes)
I have chosen these recipes to show the versatility of vegetables.
performance /pəˈfɔː.mən t s/ /pɚˈfɔːr-/ noun DO
1. [ C or U ] how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity
Some athletes take drugs to improve their performance.
High- performance (= Fast, powerful and easy to control) cars are the most expensive.
This was a very impressive performance by the young player, who scored 12 points within the first 10 minutes.
moisture /ˈmɔɪs.tʃə r / /-tʃɚ/ noun [ U ]
a liquid such as water in the form of very small drops, either in the air, in a substance, or on a surface
These plants need a rich soil which retains moisture.
pouch /paʊtʃ/ noun [ C ] BAG
1. a bag or soft container for a small object or a small amount of something
All our electric shavers are supplied with a free travel pouch.
Food sealed in foil pouches lasts for a long time.
resealable UK /ˌriːˈsiː.lə.bəl/ US /ˌriːˈsiː.lə.bəl/ used for describing describing containers that can be sealed (=closed tightly) again after they have been opened
resealable sandwich bags
sanitation /ˌsæn.ɪˈteɪ.ʃ ə n/ noun [ U ]
the systems for taking dirty water and other waste products away from buildings in order to protect people’s health
Many illnesses in these temporary refugee camps are the result of inadequate sanitation.
indispensable /ˌɪn.dɪˈspen t .sə.bl ̩/ adjective
Something or someone that is indispensable is so good or important that you could not manage without them
This book is an indispensable resource for researchers.
His long experience at the United Nations makes him indispensable to the talks.
on the spot
a. at the place where an event is happening or has recently happened
The police were called and they were on the spot within three minutes.
You can be sacked on the spot for stealing.
stash /stæʃ/ verb [ T ] INFORMAL
to store or hide something, especially a large amount
The stolen pictures were stashed (away) in a London warehouse.
landfill /ˈlæn d .fɪl/ noun [ C or U ]
getting rid of large amounts of rubbish by burying it, or a place where rubbish is buried
Ninety per cent of American rubbish is dumped in landfill sites.
incinerate /ɪnˈsɪn. ə r.eɪt/ /-ə.reɪt/ verb [ T ]
to burn something completely
to incinerate waste
The spacecraft and its crew were incinerated by the billion-degree temperatures generated by the fireball.
voracious /vəˈreɪ.ʃəs/ adjective
very eager for something, especially a lot of food
He has a voracious appetite (= he eats a lot) .
He’s a voracious reader of historical novels (= He reads a lot of them eagerly and quickly).
bluster /ˈblʌs.tə r / /-tɚ/ verb [ I ]
2. If the wind blusters, it blows strongly
A gale was blustering round the house.
flap /flæp/ verb -pp- WAVE
1. [ I or T ] to wave something, especially wings when or as if flying
A small bird flapped its wings furiously and flew upwards.
Flags flapped in the breeze above their tents.
bulky /ˈbʌl.ki/ adjective
too big and taking up too much space
bandwagon /ˈbæn d ˌwæg. ə n/ noun [ C usually singular ]
an activity, group, movement, etc. that has become successful or fashionable and so attracts many new people
a bandwagon effect
sustainability /səˌsteɪ.nəˈbɪl.ɪ.ti/ /-ə.ti̬/ noun [ U ]
the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time
the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability
scapegoat /ˈskeɪp.gəʊt/ /-goʊt/ noun [ C ]
a person who is blamed for something that someone else has done
The captain was made a scapegoat for the team’s failure.
renewable /rɪˈnjuː.ə.bl / / ̩ -ˈnuː-/ adjective
1. describes a form of energy that can be produced as quickly as it is used
renewable energy sources such as wind and wave power
2. If an official document is renewable, its use can be continued for an extra period of time
a renewable passport/ contract
harness /ˈhɑː.nəs/ /ˈhɑːr-/ verb [ T ]
1. to put a harness on a horse, or to connect a horse to a vehicle using a harness
2. to control something, usually in order to use its power
There is a great deal of interest in harnessing wind and waves as new sources of power.
capture /ˈkæp.tʃə r / /-tʃɚ/ verb [ T ] CATCH
1. to take someone as a prisoner, or to take something into your possession, especially by force
Two of the soldiers were killed and the rest were captured.
Rebel forces captured the city after a week-long battle.
2. to succeed in getting something when you are competing with other people
The Democratic Party captured 70% of the vote.
curb /kɜːb/ /kɝːb/ verb [ T ]
to control or limit something that is not wanted
The Government should act to curb tax evasion.
exhaust /ɪgˈzɔːst/ /-ˈzɑːst/ verb [ T ] USE
2. to use something completely
How long will it be before the world’s fuel supplies are exhausted?
I’m afraid he’s exhausted my patience.
We seem to have exhausted this topic of conversation (= we have nothing new to say about it) .
wear (sth) out phrasal verb [ M ]
to use something so much that it is damaged and cannot be used any more, or to become damaged in this way
Moving parts in engines wear out much more quickly than stationary parts.
ochre , US ALSO ocher /ˈəʊ.kə r / /ˈoʊ.kɚ/ noun [ U ]
a yellowish orange colour, or a substance obtained from the Earth which is used for giving this colourto paints
quarry /ˈkwɒr.i/ /ˈkwɔːr-/ noun HOLE
1. [ C ] a large artificial hole in the ground where stone, sand, etc. is dug for use as building material
a granite/limestone/marble/slate quarry
quarry /ˈkwɒr.i/ /ˈkwɔːr-/ verb [ T ]
to dig stone, etc. from a quarry
lead /led/ noun [ U ]
1. [ U ] a very dense (= heavy in relation to its size) , soft, dark-grey, poisonous metal, used especially in the past on roofs and for pipes and also for protection against radiation
coal /kəʊl/ /koʊl/ noun [ C or U ]
a hard, black substance which is dug from the earth in pieces, and can be burnt to produce heat or power, or a single piece of this
How much coal was mined here?
a burning/red hot coal
malleable /ˈmæl.i.ə.bl ̩/ adjective
1. describes a substance that is easily changed into a new shape
Lead and tin are malleable metals.
2. easily influenced, trained or controlled
He had an actor’s typically malleable features.
Europe saw its colonies as a source of raw material and a malleable workforce.
ore /ɔː r / /ɔːr/ noun [ C or U ]
rock or soil from which metal can be obtained
smelt /smelt/ verb [ T ]
to get a metal from rock by heating it to a very high temperature, or to melt objects made from metal in order to use the metal to make something new
incentive /ɪnˈsen.tɪv/ /-tɪ̬v/ noun [ C or U ]
something which encourages a person to do something
Tax incentives have been very effective in encouraging people to save and invest more of their income.
[ + to infinitive ] There is little incentive for people to leave their cars at home when public transport remains so expensive.
Bonus payments provide an incentive to work harder.
migrate /maɪˈgreɪt/ verb TRAVEL/MOVE
1. [ I ] When an animal migrates, it travels to a different place, usually when the season changes
These animals migrate annually in search of food.
In September, these birds migrate 2000 miles south to a warmer climate.
2. [ I ] If people migrate, they travel in large numbers to a new place to live temporarily
Mexican farm workers migrate into the US each year to find work at harvest time.
3. [ I ] to move from one place to another
Trade is migrating from local shops to the larger out-of-town stores.
opal /ˈəʊ.p ə l/ /ˈoʊ-/ noun [ C or U ]
a precious stone whose colour changes when the position of the person looking at it changes
ˌ carbon ˈ footprint noun [ C ]
Someone’s carbon footprint is a measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide that their activities produce.
ˈ carbon ˌ neutral adjective
If a person, organization, event, etc. is carbon neutral, it does things such as planting trees to reduce carbon dioxide by the same amount as it produces it.
discard /dɪˈskɑːd/ /-ˈskɑːrd/ verb
1. [ T ] to throw something away or get rid of it because you no longer want or need it
Discarded food containers and bottles littered the streets.
pest /pest/ noun [ C ]
1. an insect or small animal which is harmful or which damages crops
common pests such as rats, mice or cockroaches
predator /ˈpred.ə.tə r / /-tɚ̬ / noun [ C ]
1. an animal that hunts, kills and eats other animals
lions, wolves and other predators
vulnerable /ˈvʌl.n ə r.ə.bl / , / ̩ ˈvʌn.rə-/ /ˈvʌl.nɚ.ə-/ adjective
able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt, influenced or attacked
I felt very vulnerable, standing there without any clothes on.
It is on economic policy that the government is most vulnerable.
Tourists are more vulnerable to attack, because they do not know which areas of the city to avoid.
susceptible /səˈsep.tɪ.bl ̩/ adjective INFLUENCED
1. easily influenced or harmed by something
She isn’t very susceptible to flattery.
These plants are particularly susceptible to frost.
Among particularly susceptible children, the disease can develop very fast.
devour /dɪˈvaʊə r / /-ˈvaʊɚ/ verb [ T ]
1. to eat something eagerly and in large amounts so that nothing is left
The young cubs hungrily devoured the deer.
eradicate /ɪˈræd.ɪ.keɪt/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to get rid of completely or destroy something bad
The government claims to be doing all it can to eradicate corruption.
The disease which once claimed millions of lives has now been eradicated.
marsupial /mɑːˈsuː.pi.əl/ /mɑːr-/ noun [ C ]
a type of mammal from Australasia or South or Central America which is not completely developed when it is born and is carried around in a pocket on the mother’s body where it is fed and protected until it is completely developed
Marsupials include koalas, possums and kangaroos.
invertebrate /ɪnˈvɜː.tɪ.brət/ /-ˈvɝː.t̬ə-/ noun [ C ] SPECIALIZED
an animal with no spine
Invertebrates, such as worms, are the main diet of these water birds.
primate /ˈpraɪ.meɪt/ , /-mət/ noun [ C ] SPECIALIZED ANIMAL
1. a member of the most developed and intelligent group of mammals, including humans, monkeys and apes
indigenous /ɪnˈdɪdʒ.ɪ.nəs/ adjective
naturally existing in a place or country rather than arriving from another place
Are there any species of frog indigenous to the area?
So who are the indigenous people of this land?
submissive /səbˈmɪs.ɪv/ adjective
describes someone who allows themselves to be controlled by other people
He was looking for a quiet submissive wife who would obey his every word.
nocturnal /nɒkˈtɜː.nəl/ /nɑːkˈtɝː-/ adjective FORMAL
happening in or active during the night, or relating to the night
Most bats are nocturnal.
invasive /ɪnˈveɪ.sɪv/ adjective
moving into all areas of something and difficult to stop
an invasive disease
They treated the cancer with non- invasive methods/surgery (= not cutting into the body) .
feral /ˈfer. ə l/ adjective
existing in a wild state, especially describing an animal that was previously kept by people
tame /teɪm/ adjective NOT WILD
1. (especially of animals) not wild or dangerous, either naturally or because of training or long involvement with humans
After a few months’ contact the monkeys become very tame.
carnivore /ˈkɑː.nɪ.vɔː r / /ˈkɑːr.nɪ.vɔːr/ noun [ C ]
an animal that eats meat
Lions and tigers are carnivores.
HUMOROUS I did mostly vegetarian food but put a couple of meat dishes out for the carnivores (= people who eat meat) .
venomous /ˈven.ə.məs/ adjective POISON
a venomous snake
asexual /ˌeɪˈsek.sju. ə l/ adjective
1. without sex or sexual organs
scale /skeɪl/ noun SKIN
7. [ C usually plural ] one of the many very small flat pieces which cover the skin of fish, snakes, etc.
pack /pæk/ noun [ C ] GROUP
2. a group of animals such as dogs, which live and/or hunt together
a wolf pack
a pack of wild dogs
young /jʌŋ/ plural noun
2. the babies of an animal
Meanwhile, the mother flies back to the nest to feed her young.
dumping /ˈdʌm.pɪŋ/ noun [ U ]
the act of getting rid of something unwanted
They have promised to limit the dumping of sewage sludge in the sea.
algae /ˈæl.giː/ plural noun
very simple, usually small plants that grow in or near water and do not have ordinary leaves or roots
suffocate /ˈsʌf.ə.keɪt/ verb [ I or T ] DIE
1. to (cause someone to) die because they do not have enough oxygen
The report said that the victims had suffocated in the fumes.
She suffocated him by holding a pillow over his head.
A Plastic Ocean
A Plastic Ocean is a new documentary that looks at the problems that are caused when plastic waste goes into the sea. Watch the trailer and find out more about how plastic can be dangerous to sea animals and human health.
Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercise. Remember you can read the transcript at any time.
1. Match the words with the definitions.
2. Read the questions and choose the correct answer.
Cutting down on waste
Reduce, reuse and recycle!
Join Sophia as she talks about ‘the three Rs’ and shares some tips on how we can all cut down on waste and help the environment.
Watch the video and use the subtitles and the transcript to help you understand.
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 1|1. Information overload
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 1|2. The mind. Vocabulary practice
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|1. Human nature: character, psychology
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|2. Only a game
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 2|3. Planning an essay
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 3|1. Brands
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 3|2. Time for a change. Business and marketing
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 4|1. Spotlight on communication
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 4|2. Fame and the media. Media bias
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 5|1. Is plastic fantastic?
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 5|2. Energy. Natural resources
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|1. IELTS Speaking and Listening tips
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 6|2. Striving to achieve: study, work
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 7|1. Music matters
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 7|2. The arts. Writing practice
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 8|1. Worlds to explore
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 8|2. Science and discoveries
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 9|1. Culinary tools
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 9|2. Modals in conditional sentences. Revision
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 10|1. Old and new
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 10|2. The Garden City
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 11|1. In your dreams
- IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 11|2. The selling of the Senoi