Task 1 Academic Line Graph

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      National Recycling Rates, 1960 to 2005

      Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information above.
      Write at least 150 words

      The graph gives how much waste is collected and recycled in the US.

      Sample answer:
      The graph above shows the national rates of recycling for the years 1960 to 2005. The lines on the graph give the percentage of recycling and total waste recovery in millions of tons per year (MTY) for this period. Overall, total waste recovery has increased dramatically compared with the percentage of recycling, which has been relatively unchanged at around 40% since 1990.

      Since 1960, both total waste recovery and the percentage of recycling have increased from a low base in both cases (percentage of recycling at <10%; Total waste recovery at <20MTY). For the period 1960 to 1990 both metrics increased steadily with the rate of increase in recycling being much greater than waste recovery. However, by 1990 recycling had peaked as a percentage of total waste recovery at around 40% and even began to decline slightly between 1990 and 1995 before recovering to approximately 40% by 2005. On the other hand, the total amount of waste recovery increased 2 fold for the same period before growing more steadily to greater than 80 MTY by 2005.

      In conclusion, the above line graph shows a rapid increase in the total amount of waste recovered over a 45 year period commencing in 1960. Furthermore, it indicates that the percentage of recyclables has plateaued at around 40%.


      Paragraph 1.
      a) Describe graph.
      b) Describe measures used.
      c) Describe general trend.

      Paragraph 2.
      Describe inter-period trends and highlights. These are: recycling increased faster than total waste collection until approximately 1990. After 1990, Total waste collection increased more rapidly than recycling, which largely peaked in 1990 and then plateaued.

      Paragraph 3.
      Restate the major trends illustrated by the graph.


      When writing keep it simple and brief. Academic writing is not overly wordy. The more succinct you are as a writer, the higher your marks, generally.

      Don’t give reasons for trends. That is not the purpose of this task.

      Alternative vocabulary:

      Describing an increase:

      Total waste collection increased (sharply, steadily, dramatically, significantly).

      Describing a static situation:

      Total waste collection remained (unchanged, stable, static, constant)

      Describing a fall from bad to worse:

      Total waste collection declined, fell, dropped, plunged …

      Use the preposition ‘at’ to describe rates because ‘at’ is the preposition for motion. Rates are always moving.

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