Biobased products are defined by the USDA as those composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. The new label indicates that the product has been certified to meet USDA standards for a prescribed amount of biobased content.
Valid for use with personal care products, such as lip and hand care, as well as household cleaning products and construction materials, the logo is expected to hit retail shelves within the first half of 2011.
In order to qualify for the logo, the product must have biobased content above a set threshold of 25% for the majority of finished products. However, the USDA has stated that the threshold is subject to change.
With the launch of the USDA biobased product label, the BioPreferred program is now comprised of two parts: a biobased product procurement preference program for Federal agencies, and a voluntary labeling initiative for the broad-scale marketing of biobased products. The program will work to promote the increased sale and use of these products in the commercial market and for consumers.
Through implementation of the BioPreferred program, USDA has already designated approximately 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by Federal agencies. 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. 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.
To see an example of USDA’s new BioPreferred product label, visit www.biopreferred.com.