IELTS Task 2 Opinion Essay: IELTS 11 – Test 2

This is the second question from the Official Cambridge IELTS Book 11.

This sample uses many of the skills we used in the Free 5-day IELTS Task 2 Writing Course, as well as more advanced techniques and language from the 4-Week IELTS Task 2 Writing Course.


Like the IELTS 11 - Test 1 Essay question, this  question could be dealt with in either an argument-led or an an thesis-led manner. In this sample answer, I have chosen to approach it in a thesis-led manner as I had sufficient ideas to only present one argument.

Some people claim that not enough of the waste from homes is recycled. They say that the only way to make people recycle more is to make it a legal requirement.

To what extent do you think laws are needed to make people recycle more of their waste?

Recently, activists have become increasingly concerned that individuals are not doing enough to recycle their own waste and there should be laws to make this happen. In this essay, I argue that this is not necessary as there are sufficient other ways to encourage individuals to recycle.

To start with, it is possible to change peoples habits without the law. The first method is through greed. Community councils or local governments could increase the price of collecting or throwing out rubbish by increasing the price of rubbish bags - and by only allowing official rubbish bags to be used. This is the approach taken by Taiwan. Another point is that generally humans are competitive. This means it would be possible turn recycling into a game - ideally supported by an app - with leaderboards, scoring and stickers. Neighborhoods could take photos of their recycling, share them, and receive scores stickers and other prices. While this would not work on everyone, it would work on many. To sum up, eventually, whatever the motivation, a society could get into the habit of recycling through a variety of smart encouragements.

Finally, it is possible that passing laws to require a certain amount of recycling would run into a number of problems. The first being that it is difficult to determine exactly how much a person has or has not recycled - unless someone actually goes through the trash. A related issue is how to enforce it. If it is impossible to know how much a particular person should have recycled in a particular situation, how would it be possible to know if they have recycled enough, some, or not all? In other words, the problem is measurement.

In conclusion, not only are there various ways to change people’s behavior through taking advantage of their greed, competitiveness, and desire to do good, using the law to force people to recycle may even be counter-productive. Therefore, I strongly disagree with the idea of using the law to force the issue.

332 words

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