IELTS Academic Reading Sample 9 - Paper Recycling

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 30-41 which are based on the Reading Passage below.



A Paper is different from other waste produce because it comes from a sustainable resource: trees. Unlike the minerals and oil used to make plastics and metals, trees are replaceable. Paper is also biodegradable, so it does not pose as much threat to the environment when it is discarded. While 45 out of every 100 tonnes of wood fibre used to make paper in Australia comes from waste paper, the rest comes directly from virgin fibre from forests and plantations. By world standards, this is a good performance since the worldwide average is 33 percent waste paper. Governments have encouraged waste paper collection and sorting schemes and at the same time, the paper industry has responded by developing new recycling technologies that have paved the way for even greater utilization of used fibre. As a result, industry’s use of recycled fibres is expected to increase at twice the rate of virgin fibre over the coming years.

B Already, waste paper constitutes 70% of paper used for packaging and advances in the technology required to remove ink from the paper have allowed a higher recycled content in newsprint and writing paper. To achieve the benefits of recycling, the community must also contribute. We need to accept a change in the quality of paper products; for example, stationery may be less white and of a rougher texture. There also needs to support from the community for waste paper collection programs. Not only do we need to make the paper available to collectors but it also needs to be separated into different types and sorted from contaminants such as staples, paperclips, string and other miscellaneous items.

C There are technical limitations to the amount of paper which can be recycled and some paper products cannot be collected for re-use. These include paper in the form of books and permanent records, photographic paper and paper which is badly contaminated. The four most common sources of paper for recycling are factories and retail stores which gather large amounts of packaging material in which goods are delivered, also offices which have unwanted business documents and computer output, paper converters and printers and lastly households which discard newspapers and packaging material. The paper manufacturer pays a price for the paper and may also incur the collection cost.

D Once collected, the paper has to be sorted by hand by people trained to recognise various types of paper. This is necessary because some types of paper can only be made from particular kinds of recycled fibre. The sorted paper then has to be repulped or mixed with water and broken down into its individual fibres. This mixture is called stock and may contain a wide variety of contaminating materials, particularly if it is made from mixed waste paper which has had little sorting. Various machineries are used to remove other materials from the stock. After passing through the repulping process, the fibres from printed waste paper are grey in colour because the printing ink has soaked into the individual fibres. This recycled material can only be used in products where the grey colour does not matter, such as cardboard boxes but if the grey colour is not acceptable, the fibres must be de-inked. This involves adding chemicals such as caustic soda or other alkalis, soaps and detergents, water-hardening agents such as calcium chloride, frothing agents and bleaching agents. Before the recycled fibres can be made into paper they must be refined or treated in such a way that they bond together.

E Most paper products must contain some virgin fibre as well as recycled fibres and unlike glass, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. Most paper is down-cycled which means that a product made from recycled paper is of an inferior quality to the original paper. Recycling paper is beneficial in that it saves some of the energy, labour and capital that go into producing virgin pulp. However, recycling requires the use of fossil fuel, a non-renewable energy source, to collect the waste paper from the community and to process it to produce new paper. And the recycling process still creates emissions which require treatment before they can be disposed of safely. Nevertheless, paper recycling is an important economical and environmental practice but one which must be carried out in a rational and viable manner for it to be useful to both industry and the community.

Questions 30-36
Complete the summary below of the first two paragraphs of the Reading Passage.
Choose ONE OR TWO WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 30-36 on your answer sheet.

Example ....
From the point of view of recycling, paper has two advantages over minerals and ...........oil..........
in that firstly it comes from a resource which is ........ (30) ........ and secondly, it is less threatening to our environment when we throw it away because it is ....... (31) ...... Although Australia’s record in the re-use of waste paper is good, it is still necessary to use a combination of recycled fibre and ........ (32) ........ to make new paper. The paper industry has contributed positively and people have also been encouraged by .........(33) ......... to collect their waste on a regular basis. One major difficulty is the removal of ink from used paper but ......... (34) ......... are being made in this area. However, we need to learn to accept paper which is generally of a lower ......... (35) ......... than before and to sort our waste paper by removing ......... (36) ........ before discarding it for collection.

Look at paragraphs C, D, and E and, using the information in the passage, complete the flow chart below. Write your answers in boxes 37-41 on your answer sheet. Use ONE OR TWO WORDS for each answer.

IELTS Academic reading sample 9

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.24 (61 Votes)

1. Give the main the idea of each paragraph - A.
Am I wrong?
38. being sorted, 40. de-ink fibres, 41. bond together.

Rameen Mirzada
The answer to question 34 "from where it comes something" is really confusing.

Bharat Shah
B. Already, waste paper constitutes 70% of paper used for packaging and advances in the technology required to remove ink from the paper have allowed a higher recycled content in newsprint and writing paper.

The answer is 'advances'/ 'technological advances'.

I am worried about such questions involving a process. 38) repulped 39) de-inked 40) refined 41) downcycle. I got them all wrong. Lord have mercy.
Sidiqa Kamran
Please let me know the answer to question 39. Why it's (re)pulped? Thank you.
Filsina Ginyatullina
Why is not the word "Governements" capitilised? It is in the original text. So, who is wrong here?
Do not brother. It never happens in IELTS that summary questions are in different order. That questions are always in order. Now come to your point: You are locating the answer to Q. 36 in paragraph A? You are wrong, brother. It's in paragraph B last line (sorted from contaminants) sorted means removed.
I have started improving my reading skills. I hope you can help me. Anyway, I don't know a lot of vocabulary, but I want to understand and remember what I had read to answer all the questions correctly.
A general question: I thought for each part of a question we follow the whole reading in orders, but it did not happen here. for instance, in part one (30- 36) each blank is being asked in orders of total content, suddenly when you want to answer question number 36#, you have to back again to paragraph A. is it common in IELTS?
In question 36, if I write contaminating materials instead of contaminants, then will it be correct?
For question 36, instead of contaminants can impurities be used as a scientific term?
Hi everyone, in the last sentence of the last paragraph - "Nevertheless, paper recycling .... but one which must be carried out in a ....". I wonder what is the purpose of inserting "but one"? Can "but one" be skipped in that context? Please let me know.
I think the correct phrase would be "advances in the technology", but in this way, it would exceed the word limit.
Hi, everyone, in question 3, is it ok if I write "broken down" instead of "pulped"?
Why is the answer to question 41 "refined" not "treated"?
In question 41, how do I know the answer is "refine" not "treated"?
Why shouldn't it be de-inked for the 40th question?
I believe the Q. 34 is technology only to keep the limit of words plus Advances is not a sense.
I think "mixed" is a paraphrase of "add", so using "mixed" would be repeating words. The correct word should be "repulsed".
In my opinion, "replaceable" refers to the tree. But the question refers to "resource", so "sustainable" would be more appropriate to be the right answer. Stick to the text for the best answer, in my opinion.
The first sentence of paragraph B - 'Advances of technology required... has allowed higher content...' The answer should be "advances of technology" but word limit stay at 2, so you can only write "advances" there.
Yes, your answer will be wrong, because "de-inked" is passive form. After "in order to" must follow by "de-ink" to be grammatically correct ;) grammar matters in IELTS.
Can anyone explain the answer for 34, please?
I am still wondering about the question no 34. I couldn't find the answer in the paragraph. Can anyone explain it to me, please?
Please let me know if 'de-ink' is a word or two?
The sorted paper then has to be repulped or mixed with water and broken down into its individual fibres. Repulped or mixed were used in the same context; so, the correct answer should be either mixed or repulped.
Mixed is not grammatically correct:we can say " mixed with water" or " re-pulped by adding water"
Feri said :
If I write "de-inked" with "ed", as the answer to the question 41, will my answer be counted as wrong?
It will be counted as wrong because it's grammatically incorrect.

Dinkar Kapoor
The whole process is known as "Re-pulped", so ultimately the answer should be broken down instead of Re-pulping.
Yuri W
Q. 30: According to the text, trees are both sustainable resources and replaceable. In my opinion, both should be valid answers.
In my opinion, because the other answers are places, so "offices" is fit with other answers.
If I write "de-inked" with "ed", as the answer to question 41, will my answer be counted as wrong?
Could answer 30 be "replaceable"? because the source (trees) is certainly replaceable.
Because it is repulped by adding water and then broken down. It doesn't say that the breaking down is made to the water. They could do it with a machine or who knows.
I think repulped is more correct, because with the verb "mix" you would normally say "paper is mixed with water" instead of "paper is mixed by adding water".
For 39 can I use mixed instead of re-pulped?
Hello, everyone; for question 39 can we use mixed instead of re-pulped, because it is said that the sorted paper then has to be re-pulped or mixed? And can we answer "treated" instead "refined" to 41 question, because it is said that they must be refined or treated? Thanks in advance for your answers :)
Suneet Kumar said :
For question 39 why the answer is 'repulped' and why not 'broken down'?
It says: "The sorted paper then has to be repulped or mixed with water"So the water's job is to mix or re-pulp the paper...

Just wondering, answer 34, can I write 'advance technology' instead of 'advances'?
I support you.
The answer for number 36 is broken down, undoubtedly.
Why offices instead of packaging material?
Suneet Kumar
For the question 39, why the answer is 'repulped' and not 'broken down'?