Ohio became the first state in the U.S. to establish a law requiring state agencies and state-supported colleges and universities to buy biobased products. Senate Bill 131, introduced in June 2009 by Ohio Senator Karen Gillmor (R-Tiffin), became effective May 31, 2010.
Under Ohio’s biobased product preference program, state agencies and institutions of higher learning are obligated to purchase products with the highest percentage of biobased content as determined via ASTM D6866. This new purchasing program was modeled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred Program, which has already established required minimum biobased content for certain designated items.
Obligated parties may not prefer procurement of a biobased product if (a) it is not readily available within a reasonable period, (b) it does not meet performance standards, and (c) if its price is unreasonable, i.e. price is more than the fair market value of a substantially equivalent nonbiobased product.
ASTM D6866 determines the percentage of a product that came from renewable sources by measuring the quantity of carbon-14 present in a material. Carbon-14 is only present in living and recently expired matter from renewable sources. Fossil materials no longer have carbon-14 in them. Thus, it is easy to correlate a material’s carbon-14 and biobased content.
A product wholly made from plants has a biobased content of 100%, while a product from fossil inputs has a biobased content of 0%. A product with both plants and fossil inputs has a biobased content greater than 0% but lesser than 100%. The value will depend on the percentage of the product that came from renewable sources.