Waste management companies, which collect waste for disposal : GMAT Reading Comprehension (RC)
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# Waste management companies, which collect waste for disposal

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17 Feb 2005, 09:20
Waste management companies, which collect waste for disposal in landfills and incineration plants, report that disposable plastics make up an ever-increasing percentage of the waste they handle. It is clear that attempts to decrease the amount of plastic that people throw away in the garbage are failing.
Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) Because plastics create harmful pollutants when burned, an increasing percentage of the plastics handled by waste management companies are being disposed of in landfills.
(B) Although many plastics are recyclable, most of the plastics disposed of by waste management companies are not.
(C) People are more likely to save and reuse plastic containers than containers made of heavier materials like glass or metal.
(D) An increasing proportion of the paper, glass, and metal cans that waste management companies used to handle is now being recycled.
(E) While the percentage of products using plastic packaging is increasing, the total amount of plastic being manufactured has remained unchanged.
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17 Feb 2005, 09:28
"A", provides alternative expl of increase plastics in landfills.
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17 Feb 2005, 10:03
I will go with 'C' - states that attempts to decrease the amount of plastic that people throw away is paying off.
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17 Feb 2005, 13:18
I selected C as well but the OA is D?
S
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17 Feb 2005, 13:27
He folks this is a classic percentage trap. Please learn it well.

Assume there two catagories of pollutants
(1) Plastic
(2) paper, glass, and metal cans

Assume 100 pounds of plastic is dumped every year and
100 pounds of paper, glass, and metal cans) is dumped.
So each catogory is dumping 50% now.

Let us say pollution control measures were adopted and now plastic amounts to 80 pounds and others amount to say 20 pounds

now plastic contributes 80% vs 50% and
others contribute 20% vs 50%

Infact plastic pollution has decreased from 100 pounds to 80 pounds though the percentage increased.

This is what (D) says. If this is true as shown above one cannot say plastic pollution has not reduced.

Remember when quantity A goes down significantly and if quantity B goes down not so significantly then the percentages can give completely wrong picture.

Last edited by anandnk on 17 Feb 2005, 13:27, edited 1 time in total.
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17 Feb 2005, 13:27
hmmm....i c how "D" is the ans, this means that stuff other than plastic is being recycled in larger qnty....thus % of plastic for landfills is increasing.....good ques. "C" is wrong as we have to find an alternative expl for increase in plastic rather than talk abt people. Bet "A" and "D", "D" is better.
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17 Feb 2005, 13:49
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17 Feb 2005, 13:51

Hi Rathod,

Still in application process. Yet to hear from the schools I applied to. This wait is killing me.

Cheers,
Anand.
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17 Feb 2005, 18:50
This is a tough one. Thanks Anand
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22 Jun 2005, 12:12
anandnk wrote:
He folks this is a classic percentage trap. Please learn it well.

Assume there two catagories of pollutants
(1) Plastic
(2) paper, glass, and metal cans

Assume 100 pounds of plastic is dumped every year and
100 pounds of paper, glass, and metal cans) is dumped.
So each catogory is dumping 50% now.

Let us say pollution control measures were adopted and now plastic amounts to 80 pounds and others amount to say 20 pounds

now plastic contributes 80% vs 50% and
others contribute 20% vs 50%

Infact plastic pollution has decreased from 100 pounds to 80 pounds though the percentage increased.

This is what (D) says. If this is true as shown above one cannot say plastic pollution has not reduced.

Remember when quantity A goes down significantly and if quantity B goes down not so significantly then the percentages can give completely wrong picture.

On the same logic , I was thinking of B as the answer. let the two category be recyclable and non recyclable plastic. People are reducing the disposal/increasing the recycling of recycalble ones, so there is increase in the percentage of non recyclable one which is disposed by the waste management company.
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22 Jun 2005, 17:25
I got D. Agree with Anand that it is a classic trap.
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22 Jun 2005, 23:24
anandnk wrote:
He folks this is a classic percentage trap. Please learn it well.

Assume there two catagories of pollutants
(1) Plastic
(2) paper, glass, and metal cans

Assume 100 pounds of plastic is dumped every year and
100 pounds of paper, glass, and metal cans) is dumped.
So each catogory is dumping 50% now.

Let us say pollution control measures were adopted and now plastic amounts to 80 pounds and others amount to say 20 pounds

now plastic contributes 80% vs 50% and
others contribute 20% vs 50%

Infact plastic pollution has decreased from 100 pounds to 80 pounds though the percentage increased.

This is what (D) says. If this is true as shown above one cannot say plastic pollution has not reduced.

Remember when quantity A goes down significantly and if quantity B goes down not so significantly then the percentages can give completely wrong picture.

cheers for that anandnk...was very helpful!
22 Jun 2005, 23:24
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