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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of packaging from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Packaging

Some people say that supermarkets and manufacturers have a responsibility to reduce the amount of packaging on products they sell. Others believe that it is the consumer’s responsibility to avoid buying products which have a lot of packaging.

Discuss both views and give your opinions.

It is often argued that curtailing the over-packaging of products is the onus of supermarkets and manufacturers rather than consumers. From my point of view, I am largely in agreement with the latter viewpoint.

On the one hand, supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for using less packaging because they are the ones who have instituted unnecessary packaging on a large scale. There is no discernible reason, in light of its dire environmental impact, that toothpaste manufacturers have historically chosen to pack tubes in extra boxes or supermarkets have opted to wrap bananas and apples in Styrofoam trays, covered with plastic. These redundant practices contribute greatly to both the initial production of plastic and its subsequent disposal in landfills. Since supermarkets and manufacturers are the ones with the power to reform their own policies, it is only logical that they should be responsible.

On the other hand, only consumers can force the hands of large corporations by boycotting their products. This is best evidenced in cities where it used to be common to package fruits and vegetables in plastic, such as Chiang Mai in Thailand. Consumer awareness movements among locals have had a discernible impact on companies. It is now much more common to find bananas bare or simply wrapped in natural leaves and vegetables tied together with a single piece of string to lessen their environmental footprint. This same practice employed in cities around the world will have the largest possible impact on the environment.

In conclusion, the only pragmatic way to persuade shareholder-controlled corporations to reform packaging policies is by putting consumer pressure on their bottom lines. If customers make more of an effort to steer clear of heavily packaged products in favour of more environmentally conscious ones, this will lead to a shift in thinking when it comes to the environmental toll of plastics.

Analysis

1. It is often argued that curtailing the over-packaging of products is the onus of supermarkets and manufacturers rather than consumers. 2. From my point of view, I am largely in agreement with the latter viewpoint.

  1. First I paraphrased the overall essay topic.
  2. Then I wrote my opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. On the one hand, supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for using less packaging because they are the ones who have instituted unnecessary packaging on a large scale. 2. There is no discernible reason, in light of its dire environmental impact, that toothpaste manufacturers have historically chosen to pack tubes in extra boxes or supermarkets have opted to wrap bananas and apples in Styrofoam trays, covered with plastic. 3. These redundant practices contribute greatly to both the initial production of plastic and its subsequent disposal in landfills. 4. Since supermarkets and manufacturers are the ones with the power to reform their own policies, it is only logical that they should be responsible.

  1. I then wrote a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Next, I explain my main idea and add specific support.
  3. Then I state the results of my examples.
  4. Finally, I relate my ideas back to the overall essay question.

1. On the other hand, only consumers can force the hands of large corporations by boycotting their products. 2. This is best evidenced in cities where it used to be common to package fruits and vegetables in plastic, such as Chiang Mai in Thailand. 3. Consumer awareness movements among locals have had a discernible impact on companies. 4. It is now much more common to find bananas bare or simply wrapped in natural leaves and vegetables tied together with a single piece of string to lessen their environmental footprint. 5. This same practice employed in cities around the world will have the largest possible impact on the environment.

  1. I then wrote another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Then I explained my main idea and started a specific example.
  3. I developed the example.
  4. Next, I stated the results of my example.
  5. Finally, I generalised to other cases.

1. In conclusion, the only pragmatic way to persuade shareholder-controlled corporations to reform packaging policies is by putting consumer pressure on their bottom lines. 2. If customers make more of an effort to steer clear of heavily packaged products in favour of more environmentally conscious ones, this will lead to a shift in thinking when it comes to the environmental toll of plastics.

  1. I summarise my main ideas and repeat my opinion.
  2. Then I add a final thought/detail. This introduction is a little bit long – yours can be shorter. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

It is often argued that curtailing the over-packaging of products is the onus of supermarkets and manufacturers rather than consumers. From my point of view, I am largely in agreement with the latter viewpoint.

On the one hand, supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for using less packaging because they are the ones who have instituted unnecessary packaging on a large scale. There is no discernible reason, in light of its dire environmental impact, that toothpaste manufacturers have historically chosen to pack tubes in extra boxes or supermarkets have opted to wrap bananas and apples in Styrofoam trays, covered with plastic. These redundant practices contribute greatly to both the initial production of plastic and its subsequent disposal in landfills. Since supermarkets and manufacturers are the ones with the power to reform their own policies, it is only logical that they should be responsible.

On the other hand, only consumers can force the hands of large corporations by boycotting their products. This is best evidenced in cities where it used to be common to package fruits and vegetables in plastic, such as Chiang Mai in Thailand. Consumer awareness movements among locals have had a discernible impact on companies. It is now much more common to find bananas bare or simply wrapped in natural leaves and vegetables tied together with a single piece of string to lessen their environmental footprint. This same practice employed in cities around the world will have the largest possible impact on the environment.

In conclusion, the only pragmatic way to persuade shareholdercontrolled corporations to reform packaging policies is by putting consumer pressure on their bottom lines. If customers make more of an effort to steer clear of heavily packaged products in favour of more environmentally conscious ones, this will lead to a shift in thinking when it comes to the environmental toll of plastics.

Answers

often argued frequently debated

curtailing lessening

over-packaging wrapping up too much

onus responsibility

manufacturers companies producing products

rather than instead of

from my point of view in my opinion

largely in agreement mostly agree

latter viewpoint opinion I mentioned second

instituted unnecessary packaging on a large scale put in place lots of wrapping up of products

discernible reason clear cause

in light of because of

dire environmental impact series effect on the environment

toothpaste manufacturers companies that make toothpaste

historically chosen in that past opted to

pack tubes package toothpaste tubes

opted chose

Styrofoam a packaging material

covered with wrapped in

redundant practices repetitive uses

initial first

subsequent disposal later throwing away

landfills putting trash in the ground

power to reform ability to change

policies guidelines

force the hands make them

boycotting not buying the products

best evidenced clearly supported

common happens a lot

consumer awareness movements people caring more about an issue

locals people from that area

discernible impact clear effect

bare not packaged

tied together wrapped together

lessen their environmental footprint make more environmentally friendly

employed used

largest possible impact biggest effect achievable

pragmatic way realistic route

persuade shareholdercontrolled convince big companies

reform packaging policies change the way they package

consumer pressure customers buying/not buying

bottom lines profits

customers consumers

steer clear avoid

environmentally conscious ones those who care about the environment

lead to a shift in thinking will change how people view

environmental toll of plastics effect of packaging on the environment

Pronunciation

ˈɒf(ə)n ˈɑːgjuːd 
kɜːˈteɪlɪŋ 
ˈəʊvə-ˈpækɪʤɪŋ 
ˈəʊnəs 
ˌmænjʊˈfækʧərəz 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
frɒm maɪ pɔɪnt ɒv vjuː
ˈlɑːʤli ɪn əˈgriːmənt 
ˈlætə ˈvjuːpɔɪnt
ˈɪnstɪtjuːtɪd ʌnˈnɛsɪsəri ˈpækɪʤɪŋ ɒn ə lɑːʤ skeɪl
dɪˈsɜːnəbl ˈriːzn
ɪn laɪt ɒv 
ˈdaɪər ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl ˈɪmpækt
ˈtuːθpeɪst ˌmænjʊˈfækʧərəz 
hɪsˈtɒrɪkəli ˈʧəʊzn 
pæk tjuːbz 
ˈɒptɪd 
ˈstaɪrəfəʊm 
ˈkʌvəd wɪð 
rɪˈdʌndənt ˈpræktɪsɪz 
ɪˈnɪʃəl 
ˈsʌbsɪkwənt dɪsˈpəʊzəl 
ˈlændfɪlz
ˈpaʊə tuː ˌriːˈfɔːm 
ˈpɒlɪsiz
fɔːs ðə hændz 
ˈbɔɪkɒtɪŋ 
bɛst ˈɛvɪdənst 
ˈkɒmən 
kənˈsjuːmər əˈweənəs ˈmuːvmənts 
ˈləʊkəlz 
dɪˈsɜːnəbl ˈɪmpækt 
beə 
taɪd təˈgɛðə 
ˈlɛsn ðeər ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl ˈfʊtprɪnt
ɪmˈplɔɪd 
ˈlɑːʤɪst ˈpɒsəbl ˈɪmpækt 
prægˈmætɪk weɪ 
pəˈsweɪd ˈʃeəˌhəʊldə-kənˈtrəʊld 
ˌriːˈfɔːm ˈpækɪʤɪŋ ˈpɒlɪsiz 
kənˈsjuːmə ˈprɛʃə 
ˈbɒtəm laɪnz
ˈkʌstəməz 
stɪə klɪə 
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntli ˈkɒnʃəs wʌnz
liːd tuː ə ʃɪft ɪn ˈθɪŋkɪŋ
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl təʊl ɒv ˈplæstɪks

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

It is o________________d that c_____________g the o_________________g of products is the o______s of supermarkets and m________________s r_____________________n consumers. F_____________________w, I am l________________________t with the l____________________t.

On the one hand, supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for using less packaging because they are the ones who have i____________________________________________e. There is no d____________________n, i_______________f its d__________________________t, that t______________________________s have h____________________n to p______________s in extra boxes or supermarkets have o_______d to wrap bananas and apples in S______________m trays, c_______________h plastic. These r_____________________s contribute greatly to both the i__________l production of plastic and its s_____________________l in l___________s. Since supermarkets and manufacturers are the ones with the p________________m their own p___________s, it is only logical that they should be responsible.

On the other hand, only consumers can f______________s of large corporations by b________________g their products. This is b_______________d in cities where it used to be c______________n to package fruits and vegetables in plastic, such as Chiang Mai in Thailand. C___________________________s among l_________s have had a d_______________________t on companies. It is now much more common to find bananas b______e or simply wrapped in natural leaves and vegetables t_________________r with a single piece of string to l_______________________________t. This same practice e_______________d in cities around the world will have the l_________________________t on the environment.

In conclusion, the only p__________________y to p____________________________________d corporations to r_______________________________s is by putting c__________________e on their b____________________s. If c______________s make more of an effort to s______________r of heavily packaged products in favour of more e______________________________s, this will l_______________________________g when it comes to the e____________________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by listening below:

Reading Practice

Read about this topic below:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49674153

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following questions about buying from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Buying

  1. Which item do you buy the most?
  2. Do you care about the price when buying an item?
  3. What was the last thing you bought?
  4. Are good products always expensive?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related question below and then check with my sample answer:

Plastic shopping bags are used widely and cause many environmental problems. Some people say they should be banned.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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