Walk into any grocery store around the country, and there’s a high chance that you’ll see reusable shopping bags for sale. With climate change an ever-growing discussion, and individual action to reduce, reuse, and recycle coming to the forefront, reusable shopping bags have become ubiquitous in popular culture. Many stores even provide a 5-cent-off incentive for those who do bring their own bags to the checkout line. 

The bag, it could be argued, has become an emblem of sustainability, social consciousness, and intentional living, having paved the way for other items such as travel utensils and the much-discussed reusable straw and straw-less movements

So what is the state of the reusable shopping bag today? CivicScience asked more than 158,200 U.S. adults about their experience with the bags. The results show that just over half of U.S. adults use reusable shopping bags at least some of the time.

Beyond being on-trend, this widespread adoption suggests that reusable shopping bags have become mainstream. 

Reusable Bags Are Mainstream

It’s still true that those who use reusable shopping bags tend to take environmentally-friendly actions. Recycling, purchasing organic food and making lifestyle changes with the planet in mind are of major importance to those who are especially committed to their reusable shopping bags. 

That said, even those who don’t recycle or who aren’t focused on adjusting their lifestyle to help the environment are still using reusable bags. These bags are everywhere, and may be less of a statement about environmental concern and more a characteristic of a new normal in a 21st century lifestyle. 

Plant-Based Living + Grocery Store Shopping

One of the many ways individuals may adjust their lifestyle is with diet. So it comes as no surprise that those who favor a plant-based diet are much more frequent reusable baggers than those who eat meat.

While shoppers at specialty stores use reusable bags the most and shoppers at big box stores use them the least, the other differences are slim. Those who use them occasionally and if its convenient are relatively evenly spread, further suggesting that reusable bags may be common in many households.

What Eco-Friendly Item Will Go Mainstream Next?

In a world where environmentally-friendly products are often considered niche, the reusable shopping bag refuses to be pegged down. While the bag retains a loyal following of individuals committed to the environment, it has transcended “hippie” or even “millennial” connotations. In fact, adults over 55 use them the most.

As reusable bags enter the mainstream of environmentally-friendly products, consumers reinforce their commitment to taking care of the planet. According to CivicScience data, 72% of adults say reducing their use of single-use plastics is at least somewhat important.

As some retailers already know, consumers are looking to purchase more reusable products in addition to making reusable bags consistent. For example, 41% of U.S. adults said they will purchase some kind of reusable or eco-friendly item for their kitchen in the next 6 months. 

Today, the reusable bag stands as a gateway item into a greener lifestyle. As consumers become more environmentally aware, it’s likely that a host of reusable products will also become mainstream soon.