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At Beta Analytic, we test a variety of industrial and end-consumer products for certification under the USDA BioPreferred program. As both innovators in the laboratory testing field and supporters of biobased products, we’ve had plenty of exciting opportunities to see new products entering the market. In many cases, these are products that people would not have previously consider as biobased, and it is a testament to extensive industry innovation that we can now see such a broad range of products using ingredients from renewable sources.
Any manufacturer considering the move to biobased materials, or any consumer wondering how biomass is used in common products, will find this list of three BioPreferred product categories to be quite interesting, and maybe even inspiring.
All products categories covered here can be found on the USDA’s official BioPreferred catalog.
Lubricants have traditionally been some of the most environmentally destructive products in existence. Lubricants based on petroleum oil have been some of the worst offenders. Not only is the production of these products sometimes environmentally destructive, but they do not break down easily and have to be disposed of correctly so that they don’t contaminate soil and water sources.
Today, synthetics are being favored over traditional lubricants and motor oils, and they are in many cases more effective with better operating ranges. There are even lubricants made in part from biobased materials, and at Beta Analytic we find these to be amongst the most impressive products in the BioPreferred program.
Even some of the largest petroleum companies have made an investment in biobased products. One market leader has a number of engine oils on the market under a flagship brand, some of which combine biomass and synthetic ingredients. These are high-performance lubricants, graded as 0W-20, 5W-20, and 5W-30. Synthetic blend products have been certified to be at least 25% biobased. In testing, the performance of these lubricants is on par with, and in some cases superior to, other products that don’t use biomass ingredients, making them great alternatives for industry and auto enthusiasts who are looking for environmentally friendly engine oils.
It seems fitting that erosion control and environmentally friendly products should come together. Erosion is a major issue around coastal areas, areas with heavy wind or water movement, or around any heavily deforested areas. Erosion control products like netting can be used to keep the landscape intact, and to retain the fertility of the natural soil.
Beta Analytic has observed an increase in erosion control products being certified for the BioPreferred program, and this is a promising sign for the future of similar products, including landscaping and general gardening products. In this category, products need to be at least 77% biobased, meaning that the majority of all production materials come from natural renewable sources. Some of the products tested are made from blends of synthetic polymers and natural fibers, with coco fiber being popular with some manufacturers.
Using biological materials to create these products is not just important because of the eco-friendly nature of the materials but because the growth and harvesting of these materials could contribute to creating key American industries in the near and mid-term future.
Cleaning products are often associated with harsh chemicals, and this is true for some products on the market. With the BioPreferred program, we are now seeing fewer harsh chemical-based cleaners and an increasing number of products that are created from natural and ecologically friendly materials.
One of the leading innovators currently creates adhesive and graffiti removers for industrial and public use. These products can be used to clean public spaces or to remove adhesives, paint, and other residues from industrial areas. Looking at the USDA’s official catalog, it’s possible to find products made up of at least 66% biobased materials, and they’re low VOC and safe for use with only lightweight breathing protection.
It’s important that manufacturers continue to develop products like these so that we can see a decreased reliance on the harsh chemicals that have been used in cleaners in the past. There are hundreds of cleaning products that use natural ingredients today, and the BioPreferred program will help to improve consumer awareness while also helping the companies that have chosen to invest in more sustainable products and production methods.
Products are tested as per ASTM D6866 standard as part of the BioPreferred certification process. Beta Analytic’s advanced Carbon-14 lab can accurately identify the percentage of biobased material in a new product and its packaging.
In the future, biobased products will become even more competitive, and Beta Analytic is the best lab to ensure that your products are tested in compliance with all standards required by the USDA.
Beta Analytic is not affiliated with ASTM or the USDA BioPreferred Program. The ISO 17025-accredited lab welcomes inquiries on ASTM D6866 biobased content testing. For price and turnaround time inquiries, please contact the lab.