QUESTION TEXT: A recent national study of the trash discarded in…
QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Plastics do less harm to the environment than paper does.
REASONING: Plastics make up a smaller portion of trash than paper (whether measured by weight or by volume.) The damage that a given amount of trash does is about the same whether the trash is paper or plastic.
ANALYSIS: The argument focuses only on the harm done by paper and plastic garbage. But there are other ways that materials can harm the environment. The correct answer shows that paper manufacturing is worse than plastic manufacturing.
- This doesn’t matter. The stimulus was measuring volume of paper after it was in the trash. So this doesn’t affect the measurements.
- Popular opinion is pretty irrelevant in most cases. We care about what is actually and verifiably true.
- This wouldn’t affect anything. The comparison was entirely between paper and plastics. The author wasn’t claiming that plastics were the least harmful of any pollutant or that paper was the most harmful.
- CORRECT. This offers an additional reason that paper is more environmentally harmful.
- We could already assume this was true. But overall we know that more trash is paper. The areas surveyed were representative of the entire nation.
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