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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of plastic containers.

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IELTS Essay: Plastic Containers

In many countries, plastic containers have become more common than ever and are used by many food and drink companies.

Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Using plastic containers for various food products has become ubiquitous in recent decades. Though this has potential drawbacks for the environment, I believe it does not outweigh the benefits to businesses and individuals.

The environmental cost of disposable plastic containers is massive. Before plastics, foods and drinks were typically put into biodegradable, eco-friendly paper or cardboard. The arrival of plastics has impacted the environment on two major fronts. Firstly, plastic itself is a fossil fuel byproduct that requires crude oil for its production and later transportation. The emissions from fossil fuels are often cited as the chief contributor to the hastening of climate change. Moreover, the containers themselves either find their ways to landfills, polluting previously pristine land, or end up in the ocean, forming ‘land masses’ that are injurious to marine life.

Nonetheless, the concomitant problems of plastic containers listed above do not override their usefulness. For companies, using plastic containers is cheap and allows for uniform consistency. This is the reason why they have been adopted by companies ranging from fast food giants like McDonald’s to local grocery chains. This savings is then passed on to the consumer who enjoys cheaper prices and the many conveniences of plastic containers. They are less likely to rip open and spill compared with paper and most families make use of them afterwards for leftover food. If plastic containers for food items were banned not only would people lose these conveniences but many companies would have to radically alter their packaging, and potentially, products themselves.

In conclusion, the environmental impact of plastic containers does little to undermine their value for both corporations and the average customer. It is instead important to explore innovations to make plastics more environmentally friendly.

Analysis

1. Using plastic containers for various food products has become ubiquitous in recent decades. 2. Though this has potential drawbacks for the environment, I believe it does not outweigh the benefits to businesses and individuals.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Give your opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. The environmental cost of disposable plastic containers is massive. 2. Before plastics, foods and drinks were typically put into biodegradable, eco-friendly paper or cardboard. 3. The arrival of plastics has impacted the environment on two major fronts. 4. Firstly, plastic itself is a fossil fuel byproduct that requires crude oil for its production and later transportation. 5. The emissions from fossil fuels are often cited as the chief contributor to the hastening of climate change. 6. Moreover, the containers themselves either find their ways to landfills, polluting previously pristine land, or end up in the ocean, forming ‘land masses’ that are injurious to marine life.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Use short and long sentences.
  4. Use specific details.
  5. The more specific and the more results explained, the better!
  6. Fully explain any ideas you mention.

1. Nonetheless, the concomitant problems of plastic containers listed above do not override their usefulness. 2. For companies, using plastic containers is cheap and allows for uniform consistency. 3. This is the reason why they have been adopted by companies ranging from fast food giants like McDonald’s to local grocery chains. 4. This savings is then passed on to the consumer who enjoys cheaper prices and the many conveniences of plastic containers. 5. They are less likely to rip open and spill compared with paper and most families make use of them afterwards for leftover food. 6. If plastic containers for food items were banned not only would people lose these conveniences but many companies would have to radically alter their packaging, and potentially, products themselves.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea (the one that you agree with).
  2. Begin to explain your idea.
  3. Develop it fully.
  4. Keep stating further results.
  5. Add as much detail as you can.
  6. Don’t switch to a new main idea – just develop one fully.

1. In conclusion, the environmental impact of plastic containers does little to undermine their value for both corporations and the average customer. 2. It is instead important to explore innovations to make plastics more environmentally friendly.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Include a final thought/detail. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold mean?

Using plastic containers for various food products has become ubiquitous in recent decades. Though this has potential drawbacks for the environment, I believe it does not outweigh the benefits to businesses and individuals.

The environmental cost of disposable plastic containers is massive. Before plastics, foods and drinks were typically put into biodegradable, eco-friendly paper or cardboard. The arrival of plastics has impacted the environment on two major fronts. Firstly, plastic itself is a fossil fuel byproduct that requires crude oil for its production and later transportation. The emissions from fossil fuels are often cited as the chief contributor to the hastening of climate change. Moreover, the containers themselves either find their ways to landfills, polluting previously pristine land, or end up in the ocean, forming ‘land masses’ that are injurious to marine life.

Nonetheless, the concomitant problems of plastic containers listed above do not override their usefulness. For companies, using plastic containers is cheap and allows for uniform consistency. This is the reason why they have been adopted by companies ranging from fast food giants like McDonald’s to local grocery chains. This savings is then passed on to the consumer who enjoys cheaper prices and the many conveniences of plastic containers. They are less likely to rip open and spill compared with paper and most families make use of them afterwards for leftover food. If plastic containers for food items were banned not only would people lose these conveniences but many companies would have to radically alter their packaging, and potentially, products themselves.

In conclusion, the environmental impact of plastic containers does little to undermine their value for both corporations and the average customer. It is instead important to explore innovations to make plastics more environmentally friendly.

Answers

plastic containers bags, bottles, boxes, etc.

ubiquitous common

recent decades last 30 or so years

potential drawbacks possible disadvantages

outweigh stronger than

environmental cost hurts the environment

disposable plastic containers single-use plastics

massive huge

put into added to

biodegradable break down over time in nature

eco-friendly paper paper that is biodegradable

cardboard stronger paper

arrival onset

on two major fronts in two main areas

fossil fuel byproduct comes from fossil fuels

requires crude oil needs oil in its raw form

production making of it

emissions gases produced

often cited as commonly regarded as

chief contributor main cause

hastening of climate change speeding up of global warming

moreover also

landfills trash put in the ground

polluting previously pristine land contaminating nature

end up finally

forming ‘land masses’ making big collections

injurious harmful

marine life sea animals

nonetheless regardless

concomitant problems related issues

listed above mentioned before

override be stronger than

usefulness convenience

uniform consistency all the same

adopted by used by

fast food giants fast food restaurants

local grocery chains supermarkets

savings not wasting money

passed on to the consumer customers also save money

enjoys receives

less likely to rip open won’t tear

spill fall out of

make use of them afterwards use them again

banned not allowed

lose these conveniences not have the benefits

radically alter .change a lot

undermine their value hurt their importance

average customer a consumer

explore innovations find new ways

environmentally friendly good for nature

Pronunciation

ˈplæstɪk kənˈteɪnəz 
ju(ː)ˈbɪkwɪtəs 
ˈriːsnt ˈdɛkeɪdz
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈdrɔːbæks 
aʊtˈweɪ 
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl kɒst 
dɪsˈpəʊzəbl ˈplæstɪk kənˈteɪnəz 
ˈmæsɪv
pʊt ˈɪntuː 
ˌbaɪəʊdɪˈgreɪdəb(ə)l
ˈiːkəʊ-ˈfrɛndli ˈpeɪpə 
ˈkɑːdbɔːd
əˈraɪvəl 
ɒn tuː ˈmeɪʤə frʌnts
ˈfɒsl fjʊəl ˈbaɪˌprɒdʌkt 
rɪˈkwaɪəz kruːd ɔɪl 
prəˈdʌkʃən 
ɪˈmɪʃənz 
ˈɒf(ə)n ˈsaɪtɪd æz 
ʧiːf kənˈtrɪbjʊtə 
ˈheɪsnɪŋ ɒv ˈklaɪmɪt ʧeɪnʤ
mɔːˈrəʊvə
ˈlændfɪlz
pəˈluːtɪŋ ˈpriːviəsli ˈprɪstaɪn lænd
ɛnd ʌp 
ˈfɔːmɪŋ lænd ˈmæsɪz 
ɪnˈʤʊərɪəs 
məˈriːn laɪf
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
kənˈkɒmɪtənt ˈprɒbləmz 
ˈlɪstɪd əˈbʌv 
ˌəʊvəˈraɪd 
ˈjuːsfʊlnəs
ˈjuːnɪfɔːm kənˈsɪstənsi
əˈdɒptɪd baɪ 
fɑːst fuːd ˈʤaɪənts 
ˈləʊkəl ˈgrəʊsəri ʧeɪnz
ˈseɪvɪŋz
pɑːst ɒn tuː ðə kənˈsjuːmə 
ɪnˈʤɔɪz 
lɛs ˈlaɪkli tuː rɪp ˈəʊpən 
spɪl 
meɪk juːz ɒv ðɛm ˈɑːftəwədz 
bænd 
luːz ðiːz kənˈviːniənsɪz
ˈrædɪkəli ˈɔːltə .
ˌʌndəˈmaɪn ðeə ˈvæljuː 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈkʌstəmə
ɪksˈplɔːr ˌɪnəʊˈveɪʃənz 
ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntli ˈfrɛndli

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Using p_____________________s for various food products has become u______________s in r________________s. Though this has p_________________s for the environment, I believe it does not o_____________h the benefits to businesses and individuals.

The e____________________t of d______________________________s is m____________e. Before plastics, foods and drinks were typically p_____________o b_______________e, e_____________________r or c_________________d. The a_____________l of plastics has impacted the environment o_________________________s. Firstly, plastic itself is a f_____________________________t that r________________________l for its p_________________n and later transportation. The e_______________s from fossil fuels are o__________________s the c____________________r to the h___________________________e. M_____________r, the containers themselves either find their ways to l________________s, p______________________________d, or e________p in the ocean, f________________________s’ that are i______________s to m_____________e.

N________________s, the c_______________________s of plastic containers l________________e do not o_____________e their u_____________s. For companies, using plastic containers is cheap and allows for u_____________________y. This is the reason why they have been a_______________y companies ranging from f_________________s like McDonald’s to l_________________________s. This s____________s is then p_________________________r who e__________s cheaper prices and the many conveniences of plastic containers. They are l________________________n and s______l compared with paper and most families m__________________________________s for leftover food. If plastic containers for food items were b____________d not only would people l____________________________s but many companies would have to r________________________r their packaging, and potentially, products themselves.

In conclusion, the environmental impact of plastic containers does little to u___________________________e for both corporations and the a____________________________r. It is instead important to e________________________s to make plastics more e____________________________y.

Listening Practice

Learn more and improve your listening below:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic too in case if it comes up on your IELTS exam:

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51040155

Speaking Practice

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

Environment

  1. Why do people throw rubbish the streets?
  2. How can people be encouraged to not litter?
  3. What are the results of littering?
  4. What steps has your government taken to make people pick up after themselves?
  5. Do the efforts of a single person have an impact on the world as a whole?

Writing Practice

Write about the related topic below and 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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