The Reading / Listening - Biodegradable Plastic - Level 5

Plastic has polluted the countryside and been a threat to wildlife for decades. Environmentalists have pleaded with us to cut the amount of plastic we use or switch to biodegradable alternatives. There may be a solution. Scientists have made a biodegradable plastic. This means the billions of plastic bags, cups, straws, etc. that we throw away each day could be "compostable" - they could break down like organic waste. The scientists are from the University of California. They have invented a plastic that could break down within a few weeks, rather than centuries, using just heat and water.



The new, biodegradable plastic has polyester-eating enzymes inside it. When these enzymes are exposed to heat and water, they eat away at the plastic and turn it into nutrients for the soil. Professor Ting Xu said up to 98 per cent of the plastic her team made degraded into tiny particles. She said: "We are basically saying that we are on the right track. We can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics." She added: "Look at all the wasted stuff we throw away - clothing, shoes, electronics....We are taking things from the earth at a faster rate than we can return them."

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Biodegradable Plastic - Level 4 or  Biodegradable Plastic - Level 6

Sources
  • https://phys.org/news/2021-04-biodegradable-plastics-compostable.html
  • https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plastic-compost-new-enzyme-technique-biodegradable
  • https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-04-22/biodegradable-plastic-compost-enzymes-environment-soil-green/100082958


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. Plastic has polluted
  2. a threat
  3. cut the amount of plastic
  4. switch to biodegradable
  5. billions of plastic
  6. like organic
  7. They have invented a plastic that
  8. within a few weeks,
  1. could break down
  2. alternatives
  3. bags
  4. rather than centuries
  5. the countryside
  6. we use
  7. waste
  8. to wildlife

Paragraph 2

  1. polyester-eating
  2. exposed to heat
  3. we are on the
  4. We can solve this continuing
  5. single-
  6. Look at all the wasted stuff
  7. We are taking things from the earth
  8. we can return
  1. right track
  2. them
  3. use plastics
  4. at a faster rate
  5. enzymes
  6. problem
  7. and water
  8. we throw away

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Plastic has polluted the countryside and (1) ___________________ to wildlife for decades. Environmentalists have pleaded with us to cut the amount of plastic we (2) ___________________ to biodegradable alternatives. There may be a solution. Scientists have made a biodegradable plastic. This (3) ___________________ of plastic bags, cups, straws, etc. that we (4) ___________________ day could be "compostable" - they could break down (5) ___________________. The scientists are from the University of California. They have invented a plastic that could break down within a few weeks, rather than centuries, using (6) ___________________ water.

The new, biodegradable plastic has polyester-eating enzymes inside it. When these (7) ___________________ to heat and water, they eat away at the plastic and turn (8) ___________________ for the soil. Professor Ting Xu said up to 98 per cent of the plastic her team made degraded (9) ___________________. She said: "We are basically saying that we are on (10) ___________________. We can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics." She added: "Look at all (11) ___________________ we throw away - clothing, shoes, electronics....We are taking things from the earth at (12) ___________________ than we can return them."

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Plastichaspollutedthecountrysideandbeenathreattowildlifefordecad
es.Environmentalistshavepleadedwithustocuttheamountofplasticw
euseorswitchtobiodegradablealternatives.Theremaybeasolution.Sc
ientistshavemadeabiodegradableplastic.Thismeansthebillionsofpla
sticbags,cups,straws,etc.thatwethrowawayeachdaycouldbe"compo
stable"-theycouldbreakdownlikeorganicwaste.Thescientistsarefr
omtheUniversityofCalifornia.Theyhaveinventedaplasticthatcouldbr
eakdownwithinafewweeks,ratherthancenturies,usingjustheatandw
ater.Thenew,biodegradableplastichaspolyester-eatingenzymesinsi
deit.Whentheseenzymesareexposedtoheatandwater,theyeatawaya
ttheplasticandturnitintonutrientsforthesoil.ProfessorTingXusaidupt
o98percentoftheplasticherteammadedegradedintotinyparticles.Sh
esaid:"Wearebasicallysayingthatweareontherighttrack.Wecansolve
thiscontinuingproblemofsingle-useplastics."Sheadded:"Lookatallth
ewastedstuffwethrowaway-clothing,shoes,electronics....Wearetak
ingthingsfromtheearthatafasterratethanwecanreturnthem."

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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