How to Participate

This page explains how companies that manufacture or sell biobased products, either intermediate materials or finished products, may participate in the BioPreferredĀ® program. More information about the BioPreferred program's initiatives may be found elsewhere on BioPreferred.gov.

Biobased products that are not used as food, feed, or fuel are eligible to participate in the BioPreferred program provided they meet one or more of the Criteria for Demonstrating Innovative Approaches and the product's biobased content meets the applicable minimum.

Ways to Participate in the BioPreferredĀ® Program

The BioPreferredĀ® program has two major initiatives: mandatory federal purchasing and voluntary labeling. A product that fits in one of the 97 categories identified for mandatory federal purchasing, has two options for participating:

  • As a qualified product under the mandatory federal purchasing initiative, or
  • As a qualified product under the mandatory federal purchasing initiative, and as a certified product approved to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label under the voluntary labeling initiative.

If a product does not fall into one of the 97 categories identified for mandatory federal purchasing, then it may only participate as a certified product approved to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.

The first step in participating in either initiative is to register for an eAuthentication account. Participants then use the eAuthentication account to create a company account in the BioPreferred program's database, and register products. The Company Tools tutorial demonstrates how to register for an eAuthentication account, and register companies and products.

How to Participate in the Mandatory Federal Purchasing Initiative

When a company registers a product and selects one of the 97 product categories identified for mandatory federal purchasing, BioPreferred program staff will review this information and determine if the product qualifies. Products that are qualified for mandatory federal purchasing are listed in the BioPreferred program's online catalog.

How to Participate in the Voluntary Labeling Initiative

The steps for receiving certification to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label for a product through the voluntary labeling initiative are located here . After registering a product, the participant must submit a label application by following the procedure shown in the The Company Tools tutorial . BioPreferred program staff will review the label application and contact the participant with any questions. Once all questions are resolved, participants will receive a notification that the application has met the initial criteria, mentioned in step 2 of the certification steps document linked to above.

After receiving the notification that the initial criteria have been met, the participant must provide ASTM with a few additional documents (steps 3 and 4). In addition, the participant must send a sample of the product and necessary documentation to one of the laboratories that have been approved to perform the ASTM D6866 test method for determining biobased content. Please note that ASTM D6866 results for a product tested outside of the voluntary labeling initiative are not valid for the purposes of this program. To preserve the integrity of the program, participants must follow the steps in sequential order. More information about the testing phase of the process can be found on ASTM's website here .

Once the laboratory tests the product, it sends the results to the participant and ASTM. Next, ASTM sends the results to USDA, who notifies the participant via e-mail regarding whether the product has been approved or denied certification. If the product receives certification to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label, the notification letter will include instructions on how to access the label and the guidelines for using it. The newly certified product will also be added to the BioPreferred program's online catalog.