Manufacturing Savvy

A Label to Be Proud Of

Biobased product manufacturers and distributors will now be able to affix a USDA Certified Biobased Product label on qualifying products.

The label will designate products, other than food and feed, that derive a certain proportion of their materials from biological sources. Products include personal and institutional cleaning products, construction products and lubricants and greases.

However only 25% of the items need to derive from renewable products, compared to the initial proposals that had set a threshold of 51%. It was a necessary compromise that should spur consumer acceptance of the label, with threshold standards likely to rise as industries mature, Kathleen Merrigan, USDA's deputy secretary said in an article in the New York Times.

"The biobased product sector can be an important area for economic growth and new jobs. In all, as many as 5,100 new products from 562 companies already identified by the BioPreferred program could be eligible for the labeling and certification program," explained Brent Erickson, executive vice president of Biotechnology Industry Organization's Industrial & Environmental Section.

Erikcson says that many biobased products are already cost competitive with fossil resource-based materials.

Using renewable biomass for biofuels, energy, and chemicals has the potential to contribute upwards of $230 billion to the global economy by 2020, according to a recent World Economic Forum report.

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