The USDA will launch a new labeling initiative in February designed to help consumers identify biobased products, which are commercial or industrial products whose main ingredients are renewable plant or animal materials.
The BioPreferred program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) as a procurement program designed to increase the purchase and use of biobased products in the Federal government.
The BioPreferred program will now be comprised of two parts: the biobased product procurement preference program for Federal agencies, and the new voluntary labeling initiative for the broad scale marketing of biobased products.
“This label will make those decisions easier by identifying products as biobased,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “These products have enormous potential to create green jobs in rural communities, add value to agricultural commodities, decrease environmental impacts, and reduce our dependence on imported oil.”
USDA estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in the United States and that the growing industry as a whole is responsible for over 100,000 jobs.
If you think biobased products sounds more like science-fiction than current fact, check out this mushroom-based packaging that could replace toxic styrofoam, or these disposable cups made from gelatin.
Through the BioPreferred program, the USDA has already designated approximately 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing, including disposable cutlery and carry-out containers, furniture, and cleaning products. The new label will make identification of these products easier for Federal buyers, and will increase awareness of these high-value products in other markets.
To learn more about the USDA’s new BioPreferred product label, visit www.biopreferred.com