IELTS® Listening Practice 97

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between a tutor and a student about plastic recycling. First, you will have some time to look at questions 24 to 27 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 24 to 27.)

T=Tutor

Z=Zoe

T: Right, Zoe. You were going to start off the tutorial today with an overview of your reading on plastic recycling. Is that right?

Z: Yes, I found quite a lot of useful information to share with everyone.

T: Great. Over to you then. What did you find out?

Z: Well, there are a lot of different types and forms of plastic in the waste stream. This makes it more difficult to sort and reprocess than other materials. 

T: Why is that?

Z: Well, you see, due to the light weight of most plastic packaging, it means that a lot needs to be collected to make it economical to do so. Therefore, most collections have focussed on key packaging types where there is an end market in place. A good example of that is plastic bottles, which are heavier than most other plastics and therefore relatively easy to handle and sort. 

T: I see. And can all plastics be recycled?

Z: While it is technically possible to recycle most plastics, the complexity and cost of doing so has prevented this happening in the past. There are some recycling plants that will take mixed plastics; however, the materials produced tend to be of low grade and value. 

T: Right. So, it might not be worthwhile recycling them?

Z: Not in economic terms, no. Another issue that plastics recycling plants face is that sometimes food waste is left on packaging, which means that measures have to be taken to clean the plastic before it can be recycled. 

T: I suppose that is costly.

Z: Yes, and it also uses water, so then you have to balance the water usage against the resources saved by recycling the plastic. Another problem is that often packaging can consist of more than one type of plastic, which makes it more difficult to recycle. However, reprocessing technology is constantly improving, and more uses are being found for waste plastics... 

T: What are the main types of plastic that are currently recycled in the UK?

Z: Plastic bottles are the most commonly collected plastic packaging type. This is because they are easy to sort and there are well-developed markets for the recycled product. The bulk of bottles are made from a type of plastic called PET or HDPE, which accounts for about 90%. By the way, the UK has a much higher use of HDPE bottles than most countries as we use them to contain milk rather than glass bottles. 

(Before you hear the rest of the conversation, you will have some time to look at questions 28 to 32 [20 seconds]. Now, listen and answer questions 28 to 32.)

T: Can you explain a bit about the various types of plastics used in plastic bottles?

Z: Sure. Plastic bottles are normally made from one of only four types of plastic and are very easily identified, both by members of the public and those sorting the collected bottles. First, there are PET bottles and they are used for fizzy drinks and squash bottles. HDPE, as I said, is used for milk and also detergent bottles. Next, there is PP. PP bottles are the kind that you can buy ketchup in. And finally, there is PVC, which is used to make the large juice bottles

T: What about plastic lids from bottles? Can they be recycled? I see a lot of them here in the university. 

Z: Yes. That's another example of how the different parts of the packaging have to be separated, because the lids and bottles are made from different types of plastic. Until recently, consumers were advised to remove lids from their plastic bottles. However, most recycling plants will now take the bottles and will separate the lids. 

T: Right, thanks for that. We'd better move on, as time is short…

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