Certification

Certification Criteria

After products have gone through an initial screening by the USDA, the Voluntary Labeling Initiative uses ASTM D6866 to verify the percent biobased content of biobased products seeking certification. ASTM D6866 is an analytical method that quantifies a product's percent biobased content. ASTM D6866 does not consider inorganic carbon or other non-carbon containing substances.

For certified products, or packaging, that contain inorganic carbon or other non-carbon containing substances, it is recommended that the certification holder qualify the percentage of these excluded compounds on the product's packaging. Please refer to page 5 of the Brand Guidelines and Graphic Standards for the USDA BioPreferred® Program.

Biobased products that may be identified within a USDA established product category must meet or exceed the minimum biobased content requirement for that particular product category. Products that do not fall within a USDA established product category must contain at least 25% biobased content; however, label applicants may propose to the USDA an alternative minimum percent biobased content. Please note that the 25% minimum biobased content will be reviewed by USDA at some future date.

Biobased
Containing renewable plant, marine, and forestry-based resources not derived from petroleum.
Biobased Content
A ratio of a product's new organic carbon to total organic carbon, as measured by a standard test method (ASTM D6866). Biobased content is expressed as a percentage. New organic carbon is derived from plants and other renewable agricultural materials. Total organic carbon consists of new organic carbon and old organic carbon (which originates from petroleum). The presence of new organic carbon is an important attribute in a product's sustainability footprint.
Biobased Products
Biobased Products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials. Biobased products generally provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products and include a diverse range of offerings such as lubricants, detergents, inks, fertilizers, and bioplastics.
Percent Biobased Content
The ratio of new organic carbon to total organic carbon in a product. New organic carbon is derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials. Total organic carbon consists of new organic carbon and old organic carbon, which originates from petroleum.
Qualified Biobased Product
Meets the requirements for one or more product categories identified by USDA as part of the federal government procurement preference program.
Renewable
An inexhaustible resource, readily replaced. In the context of biobased products, renewable resources includes agricultural, forestry, and marine resources such as algae.
USDA Certified Biobased Product
Has achieved third-party verification of biobased content and has earned USDA certification and approval to display the label.