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Reading Homework - Garbage

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Directions: Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow. Refer to the text to check your answers when appropriate.

Garbage cans are not magical portals. Trash does not disappear when you toss it in a can. Yet, the average American throws away an estimated 1,600 pounds of waste each year. If there are no magic garbage fairies, where does all that trash go? There are four methods to managing waste: recycling, landfilling, composting, and incinerating. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a quick look at each.

Recycling is the process of turning waste into new materials. For example, used paper can be turned into paperboard, which can be used to make book covers. Recycling can reduce pollution, save materials, and lower energy use. Yet, some argue that recycling wastes energy. They believe that collecting, processing, and converting waste uses more energy than it saves. Still, most people agree that recycling is better for the planet than landfilling.

Landfilling is the oldest method of managing waste. In its simplest form, landfilling is when people bury garbage in a hole. Over time the practice of landfilling has advanced. Garbage is compacted before it is thrown into the hole. In this way more garbage can fit in each landfill. Large liners are placed in the bottom of landfills so that toxic garbage juice doesn't get into the ground water. Sadly, these liners don't always work. Landfills may pollute the local water supply. Not to mention that all of that garbage stinks. Nobody wants to live next to a landfill. This makes it hard to find new locations for landfills.

As landfill space increases, interest in composting grows. Compositing is when people pile up organic matter, such as food waste, and allow it to decompose. The product of this decomposition is compost. Compost can be added to the soil to make the soil richer and better for growing crops. While composting is easy to do onsite somewhere, like home or school, it's hard to do after the garbage gets all mixed up. This is because plastic and other inorganic materials must be removed from the compost pile or they will pollute the soil. There's a lot of plastic in garbage, which makes it hard to compost on a large scale.

One thing that is easier to do is burning garbage. There are two main ways to incinerate waste. The first is to create or harvest a fuel from the waste, such as methane gas, and burn the fuel. The second is to burn the waste directly. The heat from the incineration process can boil water, which can power steam generators. Unfortunately, burning garbage pollutes the air. Also, some critics worry that incinerators destroy valuable resources that could be recycled.

Usually, the community in which you live manages waste. Once you put your garbage in that can, what happens to it is beyond your control. But you can make choices while it is still in your possession. You can choose to recycle, you can choose to compost, or you can choose to let someone else deal with it. The choice is yours.

1. Which best explains why the author begins the text by talking about magical garbage fairies?

a. He is putting a common misconception to rest.
b. He is trying to get the reader's attention.
c. He is addressing his concern in a serious way.
d. He is supporting his argument with evidence.

2. Which best defines the meaning of incineration as it is used in the text?

a. To bury waste materials in a large hole
b. To allow waste products to decompose and become fertilizer
c. To burn waste materials and harvest the energy
d. To turn waste materials into products like book covers

3. Which was not cited in the third paragraph as an issue with landfilling?

a. Landfills are smelly.                                           
b. Usable materials are wasted in landfills.
c. Landfills may pollute the water supply.          
d. It is difficult to find locations for landfills.

4. Which conclusion could best be supported with text from the passage?

a. Each method of waste management has its drawbacks.
b. Recycling is without a doubt the best way to handle waste.
c. Incineration is the best way to process waste.
d. All large cities should create massive compost piles.

5. Which best expresses the main idea of the fourth paragraph?

a. Landfills take up a lot of space.
b. Composting is good for the soil but it can be hard to do.
c. The process of composting is very complicated and scientific.
d. There is a lot of plastic garbage in landfills.

6. Which best expresses the meaning of the word compacted as it is used in the third paragraph?

a. Garbage is burned before it is thrown in a hole.
b. Garbage is put in trucks before it is thrown in a hole.
c. Garbage is crushed smaller before it is thrown in a hole.
d. Garbage is put in a can before it is thrown in a hole.

7. Which best expresses the author's main purpose in writing this?

a. To convince readers to recycle and compost
b. To persuade readers that recycling is a waste of resources
c. To compare and contrast recycling and landfilling
d. To inform readers of methods of waste management

8. Which is not included in this text?

a. A description of how trash is collected
b. A description of the uses of compost
c. A description of the two methods of incinerating trash
d. A description of how landfills have advanced over time

9. Which best explains why composting is not feasible on a large scale?

a. People wouldn't want to touch all of that gross rotting food.
b. It would smell too bad in densely populated cities.
c. It would attract rodents that would spread disease.
d. Plastic would get into the compost and turn it into a pollutant.

10. Which title best expresses the main idea of this text?

a. The Magic of Recycling: Bringing Back What Was Once Lost
b. Methods of Waste Management: Pros and Cons
c. Recycling, Landfilling, or Composting: Which is Best For You?
d. Do Your Part: How to Save the Earth by Recycling and Composting

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