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#24 - Most disposable plastic containers are now labeled

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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken. The correct answer choice is (C)

This author discusses a system used to rank the level of recyclability of various plastics, asserting that consumers should avoid buying high numbered (and thus less readily recyclable) plastics in order to reduce the amount of waste that goes unrecycled. The correct response to this weaken question will likely show some reason to doubt the effectiveness of this advice.

Answer choice (A): The main consideration used as a basis for the author’s advice is the effort to reduce the amount of materials that go unrecycled. Thus the cost is completely irrelevant to the inquiry, and this answer choice must be incorrect.

Answer choice (B): The term “many” is extremely vague (does this mean one million? Does it mean three?), and regardless, the number of consumers currently aware of the referenced system does strengthen or weaken the argument that one should avoid the higher numbers to reduce unrecycyled materials.

Answer choice (C) is the correct answer choice. According to answer choice (C), virtually every time a plastic container is recycled, its number goes up. If you adopt the author's recommendation to purchase products packaged in containers with lower numbers, you may see some reduction in the amount of unrecycled waste, but only in the short term! Over the long run, these containers will become progressively more difficult to recycle, as their numbers will go up. Eventually, their numbers will be high enough that they will never be recycled. Thus, the preference for plastics with low numbers would only have a temporary effect. Since the conclusion is concerned with making a "long-term reduction in the amount of waste that goes unrecycled," answer choice (C) deals a decisive blow.

Answer choice (D): This answer choice is wrong for much the same reason that answer choice (B) is incorrect. The concern is not the final price, but the amount of material that go unrecycled, so this answer choice is irrelevant and incorrect.

Answer choice (E): The point at which the higher numbers are tossed into landfills does not affect the author’s conclusion, so this answer choice is incorrect.
Sdaoud17
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I am having a hard time understanding why B is Wrong from the online explanation. I mean no matter if you have many or some it does affect /weaken the the C-F relationship here.
can you explain more ?
Thank you
Steve Stein
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Hi Sdoud17,

The author of the stimulus concludes that consumers can make a different by refusing to use plastics with certain code numbers.

The fact that "many" (a vague term) consumers don't know about the codes has no effect whatsoever on whether or not consumers could make a difference if they were to begin refusing to use certain code numbers.

I hope that's helpful! Please let me know whether that clears this one up--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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Sdaoud17
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Got it thank you
lawschoolforme
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Hello,

I understand why C is right (I picked this answer by gut-feeling), but not why E is wrong.

Here's what I've been thinking:

Conclusion: "Consumers can make a significant long-term reduction in the amount of waste that goes unrecycled, therefore, by refusing to purchase those products packaged in plastic containers labeled with the highest code numbers."

Conclusion looks potentially causal-ish (the demand goes down causing the supply will go down), so I'm looking for an answer that breaks the chain.

Answer choice E seems to show how higher-numbered coded plastics could still end up in landfills. So...is answer choice E wrong because if consumers no longer bought these higher-numbered plastics, then these communities wouldn't have any higher-numbered plastics to collect and put in landfills anyways?

Thanks!

-lawschoolforme
David Boyle
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lawschoolforme wrote:Hello,

I understand why C is right (I picked this answer by gut-feeling), but not why E is wrong.

Here's what I've been thinking:

Conclusion: "Consumers can make a significant long-term reduction in the amount of waste that goes unrecycled, therefore, by refusing to purchase those products packaged in plastic containers labeled with the highest code numbers."

Conclusion looks potentially causal-ish (the demand goes down causing the supply will go down), so I'm looking for an answer that breaks the chain.

Answer choice E seems to show how higher-numbered coded plastics could still end up in landfills. So...is answer choice E wrong because if consumers no longer bought these higher-numbered plastics, then these communities wouldn't have any higher-numbered plastics to collect and put in landfills anyways?

Thanks!

-lawschoolforme


Hello lawschoolforme,

I think that makes sense, more or less. Even with the qualifier in answer choice E, "only when it is clear that no recycler will take them", there are still some high-numbered plastics, being put in landfills, which dirties the environment some.

Hope this helps,
David
lawschoolforme
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Hi David,

Yep - that helps me clear things up. Thanks so much!

-lawschoolforme
mtp39
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That explanation was very helpful for explaining why B is incorrect, but why is C correct? I understand that we want to show weaken the idea that consumers can make a significant impact by refusing to purchase those products packaged in containers with a higher number, but how does C accomplish that?

Thank you,

Michael
Nikki Siclunov
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Hey Michael,

Thanks for your question, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

Answer choice (C) is tricky. According to answer choice (C), virtually every time a plastic container is recycled, its number goes up. If you adopt the author's recommendation to purchase products packaged in containers with lower numbers, you may see some reduction in the amount of unrecycled waste, but only in the short term! Over the long run, these containers will become progressively more difficult to recycle, as their numbers will go up. Eventually, their numbers will be high enough that they will never be recycled. Thus, the preference for plastics with low numbers would only have a temporary effect. Since the conclusion is concerned with making a "long-term reduction in the amount of waste that goes unrecycled," answer choice (C) deals a decisive blow.

Does this help? Let me know.

Thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
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adlindsey
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After reviewing this problem I see why C is correct. When I looked at C, I came to the conclusion, that since a plastic container almost always has a higher number after it's recycled, buying a lowered number plastic, would totally defeat the purpose of recycling, because those recycled plastics are of a higher number. If you're not buying higher numbered plastics, then you're more than likely buying a new un-recycled plastic.

Is this simplified point accurate?