Los Angeles City Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

July 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. ban (n.) 
[ban] – an official rule that stops people from doing or using something again
Example: The government has put a ban on the cutting of trees in the area to preserve the environment.

2. disposable (adj.) [dih-spoh-zuh-buhl] – designed to be thrown after use
Example: The convenience store is selling disposable utensils such as plastic spoons and forks.

3. litter (n.) [lit-er] – trash or waste materials
Example: The school teaches its students how to properly dispose litter.

4. counter-argument (n.) [koun-ter-ahr-gyuh-muhnt] – an argument or statement used to disagree with another argument
Example: Officials prepared counter-arguments on why the new law is good in case others say the new law is bad. 

5. resort (v.) [ree-sawrt] – to use another action or solution
Example: The council resorted to trying the second environmental plan, as the first plan was too expensive.

Read the text below.

After a 13-versus-1 vote among city officials, the Los Angeles City Council approved a ban on single-use plastic bags at store checkout counters.

Having 4 million people who use about 2.7 million plastic bags each year, Los Angeles became the largest US city to introduce a ban on disposable plastic bags.

The plastic industry, however, argued that banning single-use plastic bags will affect local jobs and cause environmental and health hazards.

According to Mark Daniels, chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, reusable bags collect disease-causing bacteria since people do not wash reusable bags often. He also said reusable bags cannot be recycled.

Daniels added that LA’s new policy will not solve the current pollution problem as the plan only eliminates a small percentage of the city’s litter.

The City Council responded with counter-arguments to these concerns. The council said it will create standards for the proper use and recycling of reusable bags.

As for the local jobs, the council said the 750 jobs in the area’s plastic industry are not in the city but in nearby places.
Moreover, officials emphasized that the ban will help reduce pollution, as 43% of the trash in Los Angeles is plastic and 19% of plastic trash is composed of plastic bags.

Large stores are required to slowly stop using disposable bags within six months while smaller stores must do so within a year.

The council also planned a ban on paper bags, but resorted to allowing stores to charge 10 cents for paper bags in the hope that extra fees could push people to really use reusable bags.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think the ban for single-use plastic bags would benefit people who live in a large city? Why or why not?
·         Which do you think is better to use, single-use plastic bags or reusable bags? Why?

Discussion B

·         Would banning a few kinds of trash (such as single-use plastic bags) be enough to reduce pollution? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are other solutions to lessen trash?


July 22, 2012