FAQ: What is USDA’s BioPreferred Program and how does it affect agriculture?
Answer: USDA recently issued a statement on the growth of USDA’s BioPreferred Program, which has certified more than 2,500 products in 100 different product categories. The most recent product to be certified biobased by USDA’s BioPreferred Program is Tide detergent from Proctor & Gamble. The new product, Tide PurClean, will be available to consumers in the coming months. Here’s a question and answer summary of the report from USDA:
What is the BioPreferred Program?
The BioPreferred Program is a USDA-led initiative that aims to assist in the development and expansion of markets for biobased products. The program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill (legislation), and expanded as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. The increased development, purchase, and use of biobased products will reduce our Nation's reliance on petroleum, and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials.
BioPreferred is transforming the marketplace for biobased products through two initiatives:
1) Mandatory purchasing requirements for federal agencies and Federal contractors
2) Voluntary product certification and labeling
What are biobased products and what sort of products are included in the BioPreferred Program’s definition?
Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials. Biobased products provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products and include a diverse range of offerings such as construction, janitorial, and grounds-keeping products specified and purchased by Federal agencies, to personal care and packaging products used by consumers every day.
Biobased products also include biobased intermediate or ‘upstream’ materials such as bioresins or biopolymers, or the biobased/renewable chemicals used to create commercial, industrial, or consumer goods. Biobased products, from a BioPreferred Program perspective, do not include fuels, food or animal feed.
What’s purpose of the USDA Certified Biobased Product label?
The USDA Certified Biobased Product label is designed to provide useful information to consumers about the biobased content of the product. The label assures a consumer that the product contains a USDA-verified amount of renewable biological ingredients.
What are the benefits of biobased products?
Biobased products provide all the benefits as conventional products: they are cost-comparative, readily available (made by small companies and large corporations), and perform as well or better than their petroleum-containing counterparts.
Environment: Biobased products also help us increase our use of renewable resources while decreasing our use of non-renewable resources, such as petroleum. Biobased products displace around 300 million gallons of petroleum per year in the U.S., which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
Economy: American workers and the economy reap considerable benefits from biobased products. According to a report USDA released in June 2015, the biobased economy contributes a total $369 billion to the U.S. economy each year while 4 million jobs were supported, directly and indirectly, by the biobased economy.
What are the criteria used to earn USDA Certified Biobased Product label?
Products need to meet a minimum biobased content set by USDA. The manufacturers of these products must test the biobased content at an independent, third party laboratory.
How do I know if I am purchasing a USDA Certified Biobased Product?
Look for the label featuring USDA on the product or package.
What are some other examples of USDA Certified Biobased Products in the marketplace?
As of the end of 2015, USDA had certified 2,500 biobased products in more than 100 product categories. Certified products include construction, janitorial, and grounds-keeping products specified and purchased by the Department of Defense and Federal agencies, to personal care and packaging products used by consumers every day. Visit the product catalog at biopreferred.gov to see a list.