CPE :: Lesson 29



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Now read the article below. Then you will have to do two activities on the next page.


There is a product on the market that is sold in a jar. The jar is inside a box. The box is inside a bag. The bag is inside a carrier. This is known as packaging. Consumers only want the product, so packaging creates a problem for them. As soon as they have unwrapped the product, the jar, the box, the bag and the carrier are no longer packaging. They have all become useless. They have become rubbish.

There are two kinds of rubbish. Both of them are nasty. The first is rubbish thrown into dustbins. The second is rubbish thrown anywhere else. This second kind of rubbish is called litter. But manufacturers defending non-returnable, throw-away bottles, for example, argue that litter is not their responsibility. The public are to blame. In other words, litter does not become litter until it is thrown away. Before that it is called packaging.
Packaging is big business. Everything we buy is wrapped up. How many paper bags do you think the British use every day? The answer is about twenty million. Most of us don't know about these figures. We don't care about them, either. Manufacturers insist that attractive packaging is vital to them.
Without it they could not sell their products. But returnable bottles carrying a deposit are often used forty or fifty times. Non-returnable bottles, which are used only once, are thrown away. That is waste. Glass is valuable. Old glass makes new glass. And just as old glass makes new glass, so other valuable materials can be reclaimed from rubbish in waste separation and recycling plants. That saves time, energy and resources. The public don't seem to know this. The manufacturers don't, either. But the experts have begun to recognise the problems packaging creates. The Government has begun to recognise them, too. We have got used to measuring our standard of living by the quantities of materials we consume. We must change our yardstick. If we don't, we'll soon be measuring it by the number of dustbins we own.


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