Biobased Products 101: USDA Biopreferred & Certified

5 Min Read
Biobased Products 101: USDA Biopreferred & Certified

Now more than ever, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the products they use around their homes and on their kids. Biobased products are particularly interesting because they're made with plants and other renewable resources. 

So why are we discussing biobased products now? Because they are often perceived as potentially 'greener,' safer alternatives to petroleum-based, conventional options. Let's dive in. 

What Are Biobased Products?

By the US federal government's definition, biobased products are commercial or industrial goods (other than food or feed) determined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary to be composed in whole or in significant part of biological products, forestry materials, or renewable domestic agricultural materials, including plant, animal, or marine materials.

In other words, biobased products are derived from renewable raw materials such as plants. Biobased products can include:

  • Adhesives
  • Construction materials and composites
  • Fibers, paper, and packaging
  • Fuel additives
  • Landscaping materials, compost, and fertilizer
  • Lubricants and functional fluids
  • Plastics
  • Paints and coatings
  • Solvents and cleaners
  • Sorbents
  • Plant and vegetable inks

Does Biobased Mean Biodegradable? 

Not always. For example, biobased plastics are made of renewable resources but are not biodegradable. They are either fully or partially made from biological resources, which makes them not necessarily biodegradable or compostable.

What Is a USDA Certified Biobased Product?

All USDA Certified Biobased Products are labeled to display their biobased content, which is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. 

About the BioPreferred Program

The BioPreferred Program, which the US Department of Agriculture manages (USDA), was established by the 2002 Farm Bill to increase the number of renewable resources used by businesses and federal agencies and create new jobs and economic growth by supporting new industries. 

The idea is to increase biobased products' development, purchase, and use to reduce the US's reliance on petroleum. As a result, generating and using more biobased products will help reduce the environmental and health impacts that petroleum-based products have caused. 

USDA Certified Biobased Product Label

Even the USDA is aware of people's interest in leading a more sustainable lifestyle, so they make it easier for you to identify biobased products by giving them a unique label. 

The USDA Certified Biobased Product label is designed to provide helpful information to consumers about the percentage of biobased content a product contains. 

According to the USDA, we can trust the USDA Certified Biobased Product label to mean what it says because claims concerning the biobased content are third-party certified and strictly monitored.

Key Takeaways

Any product with a USDA Certified Biobased Product label is guaranteed to be made with renewable resources– a major win for our planet! As always, double-check ingredient lists and information labels to be sure.