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New year — new environmental policy. The ban of plastic shopping bags officially kicked off yesterday and affects Buenos Aires’ supermarkets, informal markets commonly referred to as “chinos” and other self-service shops. However, they will still be able to be found in some spots as the measure doesn’t affect smaller markets and other stores.

In a statement released on Sunday, Eduardo Macchiavelli, the Minister of Environment and Public Spaces, said City residents must take their own bags when going to the grocery store, since plastic bags “contaminate water, block sewage and affect local flora and fauna”. Even though the measure will help to create a “cleaner and greener” city, the Ministry has still hasn’t found an alternative option to replace the green and black plastic bags many in the city use for trash bags.

Since September, the City government has distributed more than 500 thousand reusable and recyclable bags in different locations in Buenos Aires. More “eco-bags” will be handed out over the next couple of days. The measure is part of a plan to reduce the number of plastic bags by 55 percent.