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Biobased Product Certification – Labeling and Certification Summary

There are several third-party certified eco-labeling programs and biobased product initiatives worldwide that require or recommend ASTM D6866, ISO 16620-2 or CEN 16440 testing for products.

NOTE: Beta Analytic is not affiliated with any of the programs listed below.


Vinçotte, an inspection and certification organization in Belgium, launched its OK biobased program in September 2009 to provide an independent assessment of a product’s renewability. Now integrated into the TÜV AUSTRIA Group, the OK biobased certification scheme continues to use a star system to indicate the biobased content of a product. A one-star biobased product has biobased content between 20% and 40% while a four-star certified product has a biobased content greater than 80%.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Products must have at least 30% organic carbon and be at least 20% biobased to obtain the OK Biobased logo.

OK Biobased Background: Vinçotte Requires Carbon 14 Analysis for OK Biobased Certification, OK Biobased Summary

OK Biobased Web site: www.okcompost.be/en/recognising-ok-environment-logos/ok-biobased

Braskem, a petrochemical company in Brazil, has created the I’m Green seal to identify products that contain the Braskem green plastic in their composition. The seal is exclusive to Braskem clients.

Braskem I’m Green overview: http://www.braskem.com/site.aspx/Im-greenTM-Polyethylene

Founded by the Canadian government in 1988, the EcoLogo Program has evolved into one of North America’s largest ecolabeling systems. EcoLogo certifies a broad range of commercial products.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: EcoLogo’s standard for hand sanitizers CCD-170 requires biobased content measurement. Under the standard, instant hand antiseptic products must be at least 73% biobased excluding the packaging or demonstrate compliance with the USDA Biopreferred Program.

CCD-170 Background: Hand Sanitizers Need Biobased Testing to Get an EcoLogo
Update: CCD-170 is now called UL 2783 Instant Hand Antiseptics
Related Topic: UL Environment’s Biobased Content Validation

The French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy published Decree 2016-379 in March 2016 as part of the new French law on Energy Transition and Green Growth aiming to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. This decree entered into force in July 2016 and banned single-use plastic carrier bags thinner than 50 microns. From January 2017, the only authorized bags are those with a biobased content of at least 30%. This minimum biobased content will increase to 40% in 2018, 50% in 2020, and 60% in 2025 as specified in the Decree. Carbon-14 testing is the analytical method required to determine the biobased content.

Bioplastic bag manufacturers are required to have the biobased content of their products certified according to the ISO 16620-2 or CEN/TS 16640 standards. The Decree also states that the biobased content is “the percentage, expressed as a fraction of total carbon, of biobased materials contained in the bags, using the calculation method specified in the international standard in force for determining the biobased carbon content of plastics”.

Décret n° 2016-379: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2016/3/30/2016-379/jo/texte

DIN CERTCO is a certification organization of TÜV Rheinland Group and DIN, the German Institute for Standardization. Its DIN-Geprüft Biobased certification scheme has three quality divisions based on the biobased carbon content: (a) Biobased 20-50%, (b) Biobased 50-85%, and (c) Biobased >85%.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: All products that are at least 50% organic and at least 20% biobased can be certified, except medical and hazardous products and fuels with fossil components. The certification scheme applies to products which are wholly or partly produced from biobased raw materials.

DIN-Geprüft Biobased Background: DIN-Geprüft Biobased – for more Sustainability

DIN CERTCO Web site: www.dincertco.de

After a nationwide ban on plastic shopping bags in 2011, which excluded produce bags, EU Directive 2015/720 has been adopted in Italy and will be put into effect starting January 1, 2018. Aimed at reducing the consumption of plastic carrier bags, the adoption of the directive means that all disposable produce bags distributed in Italy will have to be compostable and contain a biobased carbon percentage that will progressively increase. The minimum biobased content starting from 40% in 2018 will be raised to 50% in 2020 and will reach 60% in 2021.

Bioplastic bag manufacturers are required to have the biobased percentage of their products certified according to UNI CEN/TS 16640: % biobased carbon as a fraction of total carbon (now called EN 16640:2017). The law also provides for information campaigns aimed at raising consumer awareness of the environmental footprint of plastic bags and “dispute the misperception that plastic is a harmless and cheap material, helping to reduce the usage of plastic bags”.

More details on this law (Article 9-bis of Decree 91/2017) can be found here: http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/dossier/Testi/D17091b.htm

Launched in July 2006, Japan BioPlastics Association’s BiomassPla certification and labeling system certifies biomass-based plastic products. Under this program, registered products carry a logo easily identifiable by consumers. The BiomassPla labeling program only applies to members of the JBPA.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Plastic products must contain biomass-derived components that can be measured using ASTM D6866

BiomassPla Background: Japan BioPlastics Association’s BiomassPla Certification for Biomass-based Plastics
JBPA Web site: http://www.jbpaweb.net/english/english.htm

The Eco Mark is an environmental labelling program that considers the product’s entire life cycle. It aims to raise the consumers’ environmental awareness and encourages corporate efforts for environmental improvement.

Products for ASTM D6866/ISO 16620 Testing: Products required to have plant-based components e.g. clothing, household textiles, industrial textiles, office supplies, household commodities, furniture, refill containers and footwear.

Background: Eco Mark Program

JEA Web site: https://www.ecomark.jp/english/

The Taiwanese Environmental Protection Department’s “Green Mark” is the environmental labeling standard for “biobased plastic products” – plastic products that are derived from biomass. Biodegradable products are exempt from the scheme.

The labeling program applies to plastic products with at least 25% biobased carbon content measured by ASTM D6866, the standard used for determining the percentage of the carbon in a plastic product that is derived from biomass versus fossil-based content.

More details on how to apply for this label can be found on the “Green Mark” website.

U.S. government agencies are obliged to procure products with the highest biobased content as listed in the USDA’s BioPreferred Catalog. This USDA program also has a voluntary labeling scheme that aims to keep consumers well informed of their choices when it comes to buying biobased products. Applicants to the latter are required to submit ASTM D6866 certification. Products already part of the federal procurement program are not automatically included in the voluntary labeling program. Qualified products under the federal procurement program still need to be re-tested for biobased content via ASTM D6866 as part of the voluntary labeling program application process.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: The Federal Procurement Program accepts products that belong to USDA-established designated categories. The Voluntary Labeling Program is applicable to most biobased products as long as they comply with the required minimum biobased content level.

BioPreferred Web site: www.biopreferred.gov

The U.S. EPA developed the Safer Choice Label to help consumers and commercial buyers identify chemical-based products with safer ingredients. The label was previously known as Design for the Environment label. To earn the label, products must meet the stringent human health and environmental criteria of the Safer Choice Standard. The EPA conducts annual audits to ensure that the products continue to meet the Standard. As of January 2015, about 2,250 products qualify to carry the Safer Choice Label.

Applicable Products: A wide range of products, including but not limited to, glass cleaners, general purpose cleaners, washroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, laundry detergents, graffiti removers, boat and car care, drain cleaners, personal care, and floor care and other industrial products. The Safer Choice recognition applies only to the finished product.

Participation in the Safer Choice program is voluntary. Aside from the ingredients, the program also evaluates product performance, pH and packaging. The Safer Choice Packaging Criteria (9/2014) only require 25% to be met in one of the six sustainability criteria developed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). In the Sustainable Packaging Indicators and Metrics Framework, ASTM D6866 is identified as a guide for measuring renewability of bioplastics.

Safer Choice Label website: https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/learn-about-safer-choice-label

The ICC Evaluation Service issued a guideline outlining the requirements for obtaining an ICC-ES Verification of Attributes Report (VAR) under its Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation (SAVE) program. The VAR verifies manufacturer environmental claims and product attributes. The Evaluation Guideline for Determination of Biobased Material Content (EG102) was effective October 1, 2008.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Building materials

ICC-ES SAVE Background: Guidelines for Verification of Attributes
EG102: Evaluation Guideline for Determination of Biobased Material Content

The EPEAT Program aims to aid purchasers assess and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. Registered products are rated Gold, Silver or Bronze depending on the percentage of 28 optional criteria they meet on top of the baseline criteria.

According to EPEAT Conformity Assessment Protocols 4.2 Materials Selection Version 1.3 (March 2010) concerning declaration of renewable/biobased plastic materials content of desktop and laptop computers, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors, verification of the biobased content is determined through ASTM D6866.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Plastic materials used in computers and monitors

EPEAT Conformity Assessment Protocols 4.2 Materials Selection

EPEAT Web site: https://greenelectronicscouncil.org/epeat/epeat-overview//

Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative has released a list of purchasing specifications called BioSpecs. Manufacturers of food service ware can get Bronze, Silver, and Gold ratings if they meet certain criteria, one of which is organic carbon content.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Food service ware must be at least 95% biobased to get a Bronze rating.

BioSpecs Background: SBC’s BioSpecs Uses ASTM D6866 for Organic Carbon Content Measurement
SBC Web site: www.sustainablebiomaterials.org

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Sustainable Packaging Indicators and Metrics Framework Version 1.0 includes Renewable Material Use as a supplemental indicator with Total Material Use as the core indicator.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Bioplastics (see page 20 of the Framework).

Sustainable Packaging Indicators Background: Sustainable Packaging Metrics Framework Include ASTM D6866 for Bioplastics
SPC Web site: http://www.sustainablepackaging.org

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely used third-party verification for green buildings. LEED may be applied to all buildings. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn one of four LEED rating levels – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

ASTM D6866 is used to verify the the biobased content in building materials that meet the Sustainable Agriculture Network’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard, contributing to the LEED rating level. There is no minimum biobased content requirement.

Products for ASTM D6866 Testing: Building materials

LEED v4 Background: http://www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-user-guide
Evaluation Guideline for Determination of Biobased Material Content: http://www.usgbc.org/guide/bdc


Last Updated August 2018