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USDA offers guide on bio-based materials

David Bellm

January 30, 2014

1 Min Read
USDA offers guide on bio-based materials

Among the many educational sessions at this year’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition Spring Meeting was a presentation on the latest developments of the USDA BioPreferred Program.

Created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded in the 2008 Farm Bill, BioPreferred is a federally administered and run program that encourages the use and purchase of renewable, environmentally-friendly bio-based products while providing green jobs and new markets for farmers, product manufacturers, packaging suppliers, and other vendors.

The program encourages the use of biobased products through two avenues: a federal procurement preference program, with an extensive bioibased product database, and a voluntary labeling program.

More than 4,500 products and 1,000 companies are represented in the BioPreferred database, including 80-plus BioPreferred designated packaging products such as films, labels, sleeves, shrink wraps, packing wraps and tamper-evident bands. Federal agencies and the general public can access the database via the BioPreferred website at www.biopreferred.gov

The database is complemented by the USDA training and tools webpages, which are written to help vendors and buyers evaluate the green attributes of products. Additionally, the agency aims to make bio-based product information more accessible to the general public through a voluntary labeling program, in which manufacturers will be allowed to use the BioPreferred logo on qualified products or packaging.

The agency also is developing process to assess bio-based products based on life cycle analysis.

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