SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: Sorting Recyclables for Best Re-Use

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Sorting Recyclables for Best Re-Use

From the time a plastic container is thrown into a recycling bin to the time the plastic 1 are actually recycled, it passes through several sorting cycles. In addition to being separated from the non-plastic items, the plastics themselves must be 2 detached, because not all plastics are alike, making some easier to recycle than others.

During manual sorting, people 3 very thoroughly check the numbers on the bottom of each plastic item. The numbers indicate the type of plastic each is made from. Some sorting can be automated by using machines that can detect the composition of the plastic. The detectors in these machines use infrared light to characterize and sort the plastics, similar to how a human might use visible light to sort materials by their color. By either method, the plastics can eventually be arranged into bins or piles corresponding to the recycling code numbers running from one to seven. 4

In some cases, plastics are further sorted by the method by which they were manufactured. 5 However, 6 bottles, tubs and trays are typically 7 made from either PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or HDPE (high density polyethylene), two of the least recovered plastics. Bottles are produced by a process called blow-molding, in which the plastic is heated until soft, then blown up, much like a balloon, while being pushed against a mold. Tubs and trays are usually made by a process called injection molding, in which the plastic is heated until it can be pushed through nozzles into a mold. Different additives are added to the plastics before 8 molding. It depends on the method. Since the additives for injection molding might not be suitable for blow-molding of the recycled plastic, PET and HDPE bottles are often separated out from the other PET and HDPE plastics.

While the numbers 1 through 6 indicate a 9 specific plastic, number 7 indicates that the plastic is either one of many other plastics, or that it is a blend of plastics. These plastics are more difficult to recycle, as different amounts of the various types of number 7 plastics will be sent to recycling each day. They are typically used for products in which the plastic will be mixed with other materials.

Although there are many types of plastics to be found in a typical recycling bin, each one can play a part in a recycled 10 product, the many cycles of sorting guarantee that each piece can be correctly processed and sent off for re-use.11


  • B. is
  • C. has been
  • D. will be


  • B. demolished
  • C. flanked
  • D. categorized


  • B. completely and thoroughly check
  • C. thoroughly check
  • D. make sure to thoroughly check

4. Which sentence could be added to the paragraph to most effectively establish the central idea?

  • A. Special machines have been developed to assist in sorting plastics.
  • B. Sorting by hand is less efficient than using machines to sort plastics.
  • C. Classifying plastics can be done manually or by machines.
  • D. Plastics are widely used today, so they need to be recycled.


  • B. For example,
  • C. Consequently,
  • D. Similarly,


  • B. bottles, tubs, and trays
  • C. bottles tubs and trays
  • D. bottles, tubs, and, trays

7. Which choice completes the sentence with accurate data based on the graphic?

  • B. made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or HDPE (high density polyethylene), the two most recovered plastics after the leading type, LDPE
  • C. made from PP (polypropene) or PS (polystyrene), the two most recovered plastics after the leading type, PVC
  • D. made from PP (polypropene) or PS (polystyrene), the two most recovered plastics after the leading type, EPS

8. Which choice most effectively combines the sentences at the underlined portion?

  • A. molding, however, it depends
  • B. molding, depending
  • C. molding despite depending
  • D. molding, it depends


  • B. vague
  • C. common
  • D. pending


  • B. product the many
  • C. product. The many
  • D. product, so the many

11. Which choice most effectively establishes a summative concluding sentence for the paragraph?

  • A. Sorting ensures that plastics will not linger in the landfills, but continue to be of use.
  • B. Sorting different types of plastics is done in many ways, either by hand or machine.
  • C. Oftentimes, people are required to sort their own plastics by type.
  • D. There are many different kinds of plastics, and each one is useful.