Rubbish is what you and I throw away- anything from unwanted old cars to cigarette packets. Worldwide, the amount of rubbish is growing rapidly. The time has come to think about rubbish – very seriously. As a subject, rubbish is not particularly romantic or attractive.

We only think about it when there are shortages, such as those during a war.

In Britain in the Second World War, for example, old metal and paper were recycled, that is re-used, because it was difficult to get new supplies. Afterwards, people went back to throwing things away. The rubbish you and I are likely to throw away is things like beer cans or bottles, or packaging around things we buy.

The packaging is often there to sell the product and nothing more. You throw it away, and it ends up in the dustbin, along with your old bottles, plastic and cans. What still often happens then is that everything is taken away to a rubbish dump and buried, but not always.

In the early seventies, attitudes towards rubbish began to change. In Britain in 1971, there was an outcry when Schweppes, the soft drink manufacturers, introduced disposable, or throwaway bottles. Previously, you took bottles back to the shop and were paid for them. The conservation group, Friends of the Earth, organised a protest: they 20 simply left thousands of the new bottles outside Schweppes’ offices.

In fact, Schweppes did not change their minds, but the protest did begin to make people think seriously about rubbish. If you look at what a typical British dustbin contains, you will see that most of it need not be rubbish at all. Most of the textiles, glass,  metal, paper and cardboard can be recycled and you can burn plastic, paper and cardboard as fuel for heating, which saves energy.

You can use the vegetable waste to make compost to improve gardens. The problem is to get authorities and governments to make it easy to re-use what we throw away. This is because individiuals cannot recycle paper  or metal for themselves. It is a big operation. In more and more countries, it is now quite normal to take all your old bottles to a bottle bank, where they are collected and re-used.

More and more paper is being recycled. In Switzerland, for example, the amount of paper being recycled is over 70%. This figure varies around  the world, but it is increasing. Another welcome trend is that containers and packaging are now being designed so that they are easy to recycle. Now designers don’t use plastic-covered paper wrapping or drink cans made of two different metals. Both of these are difficult to recycle. Plain paper and single  metals are not.


Mark the best choice. 1. Which statement is not true? a) Anything that is not wanted anymore and is thrown away is called rubbish. b) The growing amount of rubbish is becoming a worldwide problem. c) During a war, rubbish is recycled because there is a sufficient amount of it. d) Rubbish is not a very romantic and attractive subject.
2. Line 12, ‘it’ refers to . a) the rubbish b) the packaging c) the dustbin d) the beer can or the bottle
3. Line 14, a ‘dump’ is most probably a place where rubbish is . a) produced b) left c) recycled d) changed
4. Which of the following is not true? Disposable bottles . a) were first introduced in Britain in the early seventies b) are taken back to shops c) are containers used by soft drink manufacturers d) are thrown away after being used
5. A typical British dustbin contains . a) plastic, paper and cardboard b) textiles, glass and metal c) vegetable waste d) All of the above are correct.
6. Line 36, ‘it’ refers to . a) Switzerland b) the world c) the figure d) the paper
7. Which of the < materials are difficult to recycle? a) Containers . oi single metals. b) Plastic-covered wrapping paper. c) Drink containers made of plain paper. d) Plain paper wrapping.
8. Which of the following is true? a) The protest of the ‘Friends of the Earth’ was effective on the Schweppes Company. b) Manufacturers use pretty packaging to make their products easy to recycle. c) Bottle banks are places where glass and textiles are recycled. d) Burying and recycling are two of the methods for the disposal of our rubbish

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