FACT SHEET: Overview of USDA’s Bio-Preferred Program
Earlier today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement on the growth of USDA’s Bio-preferred Program, which has certified more than 2,500 products in 100 different product categories. The most recent product to be certified bio-based by USDA’s Bio-preferred Program is Tide detergent from Procter & Gamble. The new product, Tide PurClean, will be available to consumers in the coming months.
What is the Bio-preferred Program?
The Bio-preferred Program is a USDA-led initiative that aims to assist in the development and expansion of markets for bio-based 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 bio-based products will reduce our Nation’s reliance on petroleum, and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials.
Bio-preferred is transforming the marketplace for bio-based products through two initiatives:
- mandatory purchasing requirements for Federal agencies and Federal contractors
- voluntary product certification and labeling
What are bio-based products and what sort of products are included in the Bio-preferred Program’s definition?
Bio-based 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.
Bio-based products also include bio-based 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 is the purpose of the USDA Certified Bio based Product label?
The USDA Certified Bio based 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 bio-based products?
Bio-based 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.
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.
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 December 2015, USDA has 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
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