USDA BioPreferred Program – Construction Products

As product sustainability becomes an increasingly important marketing tool for environmentally conscious consumers, businesses are looking for clear and reliable ways to demonstrate this. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Program promotes the purchase and use of biobased products through its Federal Purchasing Mandate and Voluntary Labeling Program and also aims to boost jobs and markets for farming commodities. As consumers become more aware of building sustainably, the sources of the materials also come into play and the USDA BioPreferred Program’s construction and renovation product categories reflect this.

USDA BioPreferred Voluntary Labeling Program

The aim of the BioPreferred Program is to promote the use of biobased products, with the Voluntary Labeling Program giving businesses the opportunity to differentiate their biobased products to consumers. The USDA definition of a biobased product does not encompass food, feed or fuel. Biobased products serve as an alternative to traditionally petroleum-derived products and should be made from plants and agricultural, marine or forestry renewable materials.

The Voluntary Labeling Program allows businesses to apply for the USDA certified biobased label to put on their products when they fulfill minimum biobased content levels. This label can help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. These biobased content requirements are set out in the USDA BioPreferred Federal Purchasing Mandate, which requires federal agencies to purchase products with the defined biobased content for the designated product categories.

To apply for the Voluntary Labeling Program, businesses must submit all requested product information along with a biobased content test according to ASTM D6866, a standard which measures the percentage of biobased carbon content in a product as a fraction of the total organic carbon.

BioPreferred Program Construction and Renovation Product Categories

The USDA has defined many product categories used in construction and renovation, promoting building with more sustainable materials. Biobased materials do not have to mean a compromise on price or quality, as seen in the use of a carpet with soy-based backing highlighted as providing an option of equal quality and competitive price in the industry. The product categories defined for the construction industry are summarized in the table below.

Beta Analytic – ASTM D6866 Testing Laboratory

ISO 17025-accredited Beta Analytic provides high-quality biobased testing for the USDA BioPreferred Labeling Program using the required ASTM D6866 analytical standard. The lab reports results in 5-7 business days. A priority service is available for results required in 4 business days or less.

In 2004 Beta Analytic joined the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) as co-author of ASTM D6866 for biobased content analysis. Beta Analytic is not affiliated with ASTM or the USDA BioPreferred Program. All inquiries about the program should be sent to the USDA.

Beta Analytic welcomes inquiries on how to submit samples for testing as part of the Biopreferred Voluntary Labeling Program. Please contact the lab for price inquiries.

References:

United Soybean Board. Georgia Association of County Commissioners Uses Carpet with Soy-based Backing. United States Department of Agriculture. Downloaded from BioPreferred Success Stories section (accessed July 2017).
United States Department of Agriculture. Date unknown. Frequently Asked Questions (accessed July 2017).
United States Department of Agriculture. Date unknown. Product Categories (accessed July 2017).

This entry was posted on Monday, August 21st, 2017 and is filed under USDA Biopreferred Program .