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From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea

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From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea  [#permalink]

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From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decreasing percentage of the total weight of domestic garbage in Brazil. The increasingly widespread practice of recycling aluminum and plastic was responsible for most of this decline. However, although aluminum recycling was more widely practiced in this period than plastic recycling, the total weight of plastic bottles in Brazil’s domestic garbage declined by a greater percentage during this time than the total weight of aluminum cans in Brazil’s domestic garbage.

Which of the following, if true in Brazil from 2000 to 2010, most helps to account for the apparent discrepancy?


(A) Consumers increasingly favored glass beverage containers over plastic ones.

(B) Plastic bottles were significantly heavier than aluminum cans of comparable size.

(C) Most recycled aluminum cans were beverage containers, but a significant fraction of recycled plastic bottles were not beverage containers.

(D) The total weight of plastic bottles purchased by Brazilians increased at a slightly faster rate than did the total weight of aluminum cans purchased by Brazilians.

(E) In Brazil, the total number of plastic bottles recycled between 2000 and 2010 was less than the total number of aluminum cans recycled during that time.


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 22: Critical Reasoning


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Originally posted by souvik101990 on 30 May 2017, 20:11.
Last edited by Bunuel on 16 Oct 2018, 04:32, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2017, 20:12
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First, let's identify the "apparent discrepancy" in the question.

We know that from 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decreasing percentage of the total weight of domestic garbage in Brazil, thanks primarily to "the increasingly widespread practice of recycling aluminum and plastic." We also know that aluminum recycling was more widely practiced in this period than plastic recycling. So it would seem that the weight of aluminum in domestic garbage would decline faster.

But here's the discrepancy: the opposite seems to be true. "...the total weight of plastic bottles in Brazil’s domestic garbage declined by a greater percentage during this time than the total weight of aluminum cans in Brazil’s domestic garbage."

So we need to find something that will help us explain why the total weight of plastic bottles declined by a greater percentage than the weight of aluminum cans -- despite the fact that aluminum recycling was more widespread during this period.

Quote:
(A) Consumers increasingly favored glass beverage containers over plastic ones.

At first glance, this might seem to be out of scope, since the passage doesn't mention glass at all. But (A) is basically telling us that recycling might not be the only factor reducing the amount of aluminum in Brazil's garbage. If consumers increasingly favored glass beverage containers over plastic ones, that would reduce the number of plastic beverage bottles used by Brazilians and thus reduce the weight of plastic in Brazil's garbage.

In other words, plastic recycling may not have significantly reduced the weight of plastic in Brazil's garbage, but the change in Brazilians' preferences may have significantly reduced the weight of plastic in Brazil's garbage. This potentially explains why the percent decrease in weight was higher for plastic bottles than for aluminum cans, so let's hang on to choice (A).

Quote:
(B) Plastic bottles were significantly heavier than aluminum cans of comparable size.


Absolutely everything in the questions deals with percentages, so the relative weight of different containers is irrelevant. Choice (B) does not explain the apparent discrepancy.

Quote:
(C) Most recycled aluminum cans were beverage containers, but a significant fraction of recycled plastic bottles were not beverage containers.

This statement gives us another reason to expect the percent decrease in the weight of aluminum cans to be GREATER than the percent decrease in the weight of plastic bottles. If the opposite information were given (i.e. that a significant fraction of aluminum cans were not beverage containers and most recycled plastic bottles were beverage containers), that might help explain the discrepancy. The statement given in choice (C) only makes the discrepancy more glaring.

Quote:
(D) The total weight of plastic bottles purchased by Brazilians increased at a slightly faster rate than did the total weight of aluminum cans purchased by Brazilians.

This statement also makes the discrepancy more glaring. If plastic recycling is less widespread AND Brazilians are using more plastic bottles, we would certainly expect the weight of aluminum cans to decrease by a larger percentage. If we were told that the total weight of aluminum cans purchased by Brazilians increased at a significantly faster rate than did the total weight of plastic bottles, that might explain the discrepancy; however, the statement given in choice (D) does not explain the discrepancy.

Quote:
(E) In Brazil, the total number of plastic bottles recycled between 2000 and 2010 was less than the total number of aluminum cans recycled during that time.

We don't care about the number of bottles or cans, only about the total weight as a percentage of the total domestic garbage. Statement (E) does not help.

Choice (A) is the best answer.
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Re: From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 31 May 2017, 12:06
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IMO A.

A. CORRECT. If plastic bottles are ditched in favor of some other material then less tonnage of plastic garbage will be available.
B. INCORRECT. If this is true then it should have been true in past also and hence doesn't explain why there is a sudden drop in plastic garbage.
C. IRRELEVANT. We are concerned with beverage cans.
D. INCORRECT. Same argument as B plus people buying more plastic doesn't automatically prove that they are recycling more.
E. INCORRECT. % increase in no of plastic < % increase in no of Al doesn't prove that % change weight of P < % change in weight of Al recycled.

Originally posted by deep14 on 30 May 2017, 22:53.
Last edited by deep14 on 31 May 2017, 12:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2017, 07:24
Phew this one was a tough one .. My take on this one :

Premise :

1) % of beverage containers in domestic waste has been decreasing over a period from 2000 to 2010. Recycling was responsible for this trend.
2) Aluminum recycling was more widely practiced in this period than plastic recycling,

Conclusion :

The total weight of plastic bottles in Brazil’s domestic garbage declined by a greater percentage during this time than the total weight of aluminum cans in Brazil’s domestic garbage.

This is a paradox question.

Pre-think : We need to find out why the total weight of plastic bottles in garbage declined by a greater % than the decline in total weight of aluminum cans in spite of greater recycling of aluminum cans. Please note that the conclusion compares % decline with decline in total weight. The total decline in weight of aluminum cans has to be more than the total decline in weight of plastic bottles. But if the % of decline in plastic is more , the decline could be because the sample space of plastic cans is smaller and the qty hence recycled is a greater % of this smaller qty.

POE :

a) This options conveys that the sample space of plastic is small because of a higher qty of glass bottles - hold
b) Are we concerned about the weight of plastic vs aluminum cans ? - out
c) We are not concerned about the fraction of beverage cans among plastic or glass bottles - out
d) How does the frequency of purchase matter ? Moreover we still cannot deduce that the sample space of plastic is smaller - out
e) Are we concerned with the number or weight ? - Out

Only option A seems feasible.
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Re: From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2018, 21:45
souvik101990 wrote:
From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decreasing percentage of the total weight of domestic garbage in Brazil. The increasingly widespread practice of recycling aluminum and plastic was responsible for most of this decline. However, although aluminum recycling was more widely practiced in this period than plastic recycling, the total weight of plastic bottles in Brazil’s domestic garbage declined by a greater percentage during this time than the total weight of aluminum cans in Brazil’s domestic garbage.

Which of the following, if true in Brazil from 2000 to 2010, most helps to account for the apparent discrepancy?


(A) Consumers increasingly favored glass beverage containers over plastic ones.

(B) Plastic bottles were significantly heavier than aluminum cans of comparable size.

(C) Most recycled aluminum cans were beverage containers, but a significant fraction of recycled plastic bottles were not beverage containers.

(D) The total weight of plastic bottles purchased by Brazilians increased at a slightly faster rate than did the total weight of aluminum cans purchased by Brazilians.

(E) In Brazil, the total number of plastic bottles recycled between 2000 and 2010 was less than the total number of aluminum cans recycled during that time.


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 22: Critical Reasoning


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Beverage containers/Total Garbage is decreasing - because aluminium and plastic are being recycled. So if it was 20% before, it is 10% now.

Aluminium recycling was more widely practiced than plastic recycling.

But "plastic bottles weight/total garbage weight" reduced more than "aluminium can weight/total garbage weight".
So say if "plastic bottles weight/total garbage weight" was 5%, it has come down to 2% while "aluminium can weight/total garbage" weight has come down from 5% to only 4%. More reduction in plastic weight.

Discrepancy - Though aluminium recycling is more popular, plastic beverage weight has come down more.

It seems that there is something other than recycling too that is reducing the plastic. Let's look at the options.

(A) Consumers increasingly favored glass beverage containers over plastic ones.

This is the answer. It tells us why plastic beverage weight is coming down more than aluminium weight. Plastic is being replaced by glass. So perhaps the plastic weight is going down from 5% to 3% because of that. Then from 3%, it is going down to 2% because of recycling.

(B) Plastic bottles were significantly heavier than aluminum cans of comparable size.

We don't know the terms in which we measure "aluminium recycling is more popular than plastic recycling" - is it units recycled or weight recycled. Hence, this statement does not explain the paradox.

(C) Most recycled aluminum cans were beverage containers, but a significant fraction of recycled plastic bottles were not beverage containers.

This is irrelevant. Note what our paradox is: Though aluminium recycling is more popular than plastic recycling, "plastic bottles weight/total garbage weight" reduced more than "aluminium can weight/total garbage weight".
What part of plastic bottles constituted beverage containers and what part of aluminium cans constituted beverage containers is irrelevant to our paradox. The weight of each is being compared with total garbage weight. The sentence about beverage containers reducing is given as context only.

(D) The total weight of plastic bottles purchased by Brazilians increased at a slightly faster rate than did the total weight of aluminum cans purchased by Brazilians.

With aluminium recycling being more popular and rate of buying aluminium being lesser, aluminium should have decreased by a greater percentage in the total garbage as compared with plastic. It doesn't resolve the paradox, it instead makes it more unlikely.

(E) In Brazil, the total number of plastic bottles recycled between 2000 and 2010 was less than the total number of aluminum cans recycled during that time.

If fewer plastic bottles were recycled as compared with number of aluminium cans, aluminium cans should have decreased by a greater percentage in the total garbage as compared with plastic bottles. It doesn't resolve the paradox, it instead makes it more unlikely.

Answer (A)
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Re: From 2000 to 2010, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decrea &nbs [#permalink] 16 Oct 2018, 21:45
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