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The USDA Certified Biobased Product label verifies that a product contains a specific amount of renewable biological ingredients, known as biobased content. This can include plant, animal, or aquatic materials. The certification is applicable to commercial or industrial products, excluding motor vehicle fuels, heating oil, and electricity produced from biomass. However, the certification does not evaluate the production or supply chain of the product.
Products in one of the USDA's 139 biobased categories must meet specific content requirements. For products not in these categories, a minimum of 25% biobased content is required.
Biobased content is verified through ASTM D6866 testing
Does not guarantee safety or environmental impact but aims to reduce petroleum consumption
The certification process involves an initial review by the BioPreferred Program staff, followed by lab testing to determine the biobased content. The testing method distinguishes carbon from biomass-derived sources versus fossil-based sources. Routine audits are conducted to ensure the accuracy of the biobased content displayed on the label.
The certification does not specify a validity period, but if the product's formulation changes, retesting may be required. This encourages manufacturers to maintain or improve their biobased content.
The label can enhance a company's reputation for using renewable resources and offers consumers a verified option for reducing petroleum consumption. However, the label does not express environmental preference or impact, nor does it consider the production or supply chain, which may not meet the expectations of those looking for a more comprehensive sustainability certification.