BBC 6 minute English-The circular economy

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BBC 6 minute English-The circular economy

 

 

Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

.Neil: Hello. This is 6 Minute English with me, Neil

.Sam: And me, Sam

.Neil: Today, we’re talking rubbish

.Sam: Ooh, that’s a bit harsh – I thought it was going to be interesting

.Neil: I mean our topic is about rubbish, not that we are rubbish

.Sam: I see. Do go on

Neil: Thank you. So the amount of waste we produce around the world is huge and it’s a growing problem

Sam: But, there are some things that we can do, like recycling. Where I live, I can recycle a lot, and I’m always very careful to separate – to split my rubbish into paper, metal, food, plastic and so on

Neil: But is that enough, even if we all do it? We’ll look a little more at this topic shortly, but first, as always, a question. Which country recycles the highest percentage of its waste? Is it

A: Sweden

B: Germany

C: New Zealand

?What do you think, Sam

.Sam: I’m not sure, but I think it could be Germany so I’m going to go with that – Germany

Neil: OK. We’ll see if you’re right a little bit later on. The BBC radio programme, Business Daily, recently tackled this topic. They spoke to Alexandre Lemille, an expert in this area. Does he think recycling is the answer? Let’s hear what he said

Alexandre Lemille

Recycling is not the answer to waste from an efficient point of view because we are not able to get all the waste separated properly and therefore treated in the background. The main objective of our model is to hide waste so we don’t see as urban citizens, or rural citizens, we don’t see the waste, it is out of sight and therefore out of mind

?Neil: What’s his view of recycling

Sam: I was a bit surprised, because he said recycling wasn’t the answer. One reason is that it’s not always possible to separate waste you can recycle from waste you can’t recycle, and that makes treating it very difficult. Treating means handling it and using different processes, so it can be used again

Neil: And the result is a lot of waste, including waste that could be recycled but which is just hidden. And as long as we don’t see it, we don’t think about it

Sam: And he uses a good phrase to describe this – out of sight, out of mind. And that’s true, at least for me. My rubbish and recycling is collected and I don’t really think about what happens to it after that. Is as much of it recycled as I think, or is it just buried, burned or even sent to other countries? It’s not in front of my house, so I don’t really think about it – out of sight, out of mind

.Neil: Let’s listen again

Alexandre Lemille

Recycling is not the answer to waste from an efficient point of view because we are not able to get all the waste separated properly and therefore treated in the background. The main objective of our model is to hide waste so we don’t see as urban citizens, or rural citizens, we don’t see the waste, it is out of sight and therefore out of mind

Neil: One possible solution to this problem is to develop what is called a circular economy. Here’s the presenter of Business Daily, Manuela Saragosa, explaining what that means

Manuela Saragosa

The idea then at the core of a circular economic and business model is that a product, like say a washing machine or even a broom, can always be returned to the manufacturer to be reused or repaired before then sold on again. The point is the manufacturer retains responsibility for the lifecycle of the product it produces rather than the consumer assuming that responsibility when he or she buys it

.Neil: So it seems like a simple idea – though maybe very difficult to do

Sam: Yes, the idea is that the company that makes a product, the manufacturer, is responsible for the product, not the person who bought it, the consumer

Neil: So, if the product breaks or reaches the end of its useful life, its lifecycle, then the manufacturer has to take it back and fix, refurbish or have it recycled

!Sam: I guess this would make manufacturers try to make their products last longer

.Neil: It certainly would. Let’s listen again

Manuela Saragosa

The idea then at the core of a circular economic and business model is that a product, like say a washing machine or even a broom, can always be returned to the manufacturer to be reused or repaired before then sold on again. The point is the manufacturer retains responsibility for the lifecycle of the product it produces rather than the consumer assuming that responsibility when he or she buys it

Neil: That’s just about all we have time for in this programme. Before we recycle the vocabulary

!Sam: Oh very good Neil

Neil: Before we – thank you Sam – before we recycle the vocabulary, we need to get the answer to today’s question. Which country recycles the highest percentage of its waste? Is it

A: Sweden

B: Germany

C: New Zealand

?Sam, what did you say

.Sam: I think it’s Germany

Neil: Well I would like to offer you congratulations because Germany is the correct answer. Now let’s go over the vocabulary

Sam: Of course. To separate means to divide or split different things, for example, separate your plastic from your paper for recycling

.Neil: Treating is the word for dealing with, for example, recycled waste

Sam: The phrase out of sight, out of mind, means ignoring something or a situation you can’t see

Neil: A manufacturer is the person or company that makes something and the consumer is the person who buys that thing

.Sam: And the length of time you can expect a product to work for is known as its lifecycle

Neil: Well the lifecycle of this programme is 6 minutes, and as we are there, or thereabouts, it’s time for us to head off. Thanks for your company and hope you can join us again soon. Until then, there is plenty more to enjoy from BBC Learning English online, on social media and on our app. Bye for now

!Sam: Bye

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