Today, I would like to present you with a sample band 9 answer for an interesting IELTS task 2 question. I say “interesting” because it is sort of a hybrid question. Is it a two-part question or a cause and solution question? Let’s take a look and find out…

IELTS Writing Question About Rubbish

Ok, let’s look at the question for today:

Nowadays we are producing more and more rubbish.

Why do you think this is happening?

What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced?

At first glance, it looks like a pretty normal IELTS writing task 2 question. [You can find a big list of questions here.] It follows the standard IELTS question formula:

  1. general statement
  2. question(s)

However, this is interesting because there are two parts, making it essentially a two-part question… but the parts are really asking you for the cause of a problem and a solution to the problem.

So is this a two-part question or a cause and solution one?

Well, it is both and it doesn’t really matter. 😅 It is asking you two questions but one is about the cause and one is the solution, so you would be completely fine approaching it in either way.

ielts essays about rubbish and plastic

Planning your Answer

Once you have read the question, you need to quickly think about what you want to say. Before you worry about vocabulary and grammar, you need to think about content and structure.

Fortunately, structure for IELTS writing is pretty easy. I have a load of articles about it here, here, and here. You can use the basic four-paragraph essay structure that I always recommend:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraph #1
  3. Body paragraph #2
  4. Conclusion

In this case, of course, you can easily divide your ideas among the two body paragraphs like this:

  • Body paragraph #1 = causes of the problem
  • Body paragraph #2 = solutions to the problem
ielts essay structure

Brainstorming and Picking the Best Ideas

Next, you need to find ideas to slot into that structure. For me, the root of the problem seems to be plastic, so I will start with that. However, I would need to plan some sort of development for this idea: explanation, examples, etc. My solution would be education because I think that education can help us solve most problems.

IntroductionGeneral statement about rubbish Introduce the main idea of the essay (cause and solution will be discussed)
Body paragraph #1Main cause = plastic
Explain why it’s a big problem
– Give several details
Summary sentence to ties together the details
Body paragraph #2Best solution = education
Main reason = educated places have hardly any trash
Explain and give hypothetical possibility for future
Briefly mention other ideas
ConclusionRe-state that plastics are responsible and education can solve it.

A Word of Advice

Please do NOT just list lots of ideas in your IELTS essay. For my writing correction service, I mark dozens of essays each week and I am sad to see that most candidates just cram as many ideas as possible into their essays.

This is NOT a good idea. You should pick just one or two strong ideas and then develop them fully through your body paragraphs. This will allow you to score highly for Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion. However, if you just list ideas then you would not fulfill the criteria and would struggle to achieve a good score.

Vocabulary for IELTS Questions About Rubbish

When you talk about this sort of question, your vocabulary will depend upon your ideas. For me, the main issue is plastic, and so I would want to use some language that shows a knowledge of this area. I am going to use the word BIODEGRADE.

Do you know what it means?

Let’s think about it:

bio-Relating to life/organics
-degradeTo break down into pieces

The word “biodegrade” means “to break down naturally.” We actually don’t use this much as a verb, and it is more common as an adjective:

  • The supermarket’s new bags are biodegradable.
  • I only use biodegradable products now.
  • Is that a biodegradable straw?

Still, the meaning is the same and you can figure it out from breaking the word into two parts! 😄

Here are some other words I used in the text:

Ubiquitous(adjective) very common
Overpopulation(noun) the problem of having too many people
Unashamedly(adverb) doing something with no sense of shame
Abundance(noun) a large amount of something
Disposable(adjective) something designed to be thrown away after use

Sample Band 9 Answer

One of the curses of the modern world is the abundance of trash that has piled up around our planet, littering city streets and polluting our oceans. This situation has developed for various reasons, and, although it has gotten very bad, there are some steps that can be taken to make it better.

The primary reason for our current problem is that plastics, which were only invented in the last century, have already become ubiquitous due to being so cheap. Unfortunately, plastic products do not break down easily, and thus when they are dropped, they will not biodegrade. Instead, they will lie in the street or float away into the sea, and then exist as rubbish for hundreds of years. Plastic bags are now used to package all kinds of food, and even to wrap completely unnecessary items. This means that they are used far too often, something that is compounded by our present overpopulation problem.

As with many problems, the best solution is education. In western countries, children have been taught for many years that it is wrong to drop litter in the streets, and so now in the twenty-first century it is uncommon to see anyone dropped litter. Compare this to developing countries, and even wealthy countries in Asia, where you see people constantly and unashamedly dropping litter, and you can appreciate the importance of education. If children across the globe were taught how bad it is to throw trash on the ground, the world would soon grow to be free of trash. Of course, other measures could also be considered, such as taxing plastic bags, increasing the number of public waste bins, and fining people who drop litter.

In conclusion, the main reason for the current trash epidemic is the abundance of disposable plastic in our lives. We need to educate people from a young age not to dispose of this so wastefully in order to solve the problem.