Adults: 6 Minute English - Plastic Shopping Bags

  • 2015.11.10 Tuesday
  • 11:13

The impact of plastic

This weeks 6 minute English is all about recycling and plastics. The UK government has recently introduced a small charge of 5pence (about 12yen) on plastic bags in English supermarkets to try to stop people using them. Neil and Alice take a look at the environmental impact of mass-produced plastic bags and plastic in general. They also teach some related vocabulary.

Listen to the audio by clicking here.



a new plan for dealing with something

someone who collects large amounts of something and finds it hard to throw things away

gradually break down by natural chemical processes

block something

able to break down naturally in a way that isn't harmful to the environment

a small amount of a chemical added to something to improve it

a place where our rubbish is buried under the earth

small plastic fragments less than 5mm in size


tiny little animals in the sea other sea animals feed on

food chain
a series of living things where each group of creature feeds on the one below it in the chain


This week's question

How many tonnes of plastic rubbish from the UK is being sent to China each year for recycling? Is it:

a) 20,000?

b) 200,000?

or c) 2,000,000?

You can check the answer by reading the transcript here.


Bonus Question

Can you think of any new recycling inititives that Japan is introducing in the future? Or perhaps, some recently introduced inititives. What are the pros and cons of these inititives?