Mandatory Federal Purchasing

Federal law, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and Presidential Executive Orders direct that all federal agencies purchase biobased products in categories identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To date, USDA has identified 97 categories (e.g. cleaners, carpet, lubricants, paints) of biobased products for which agencies and their contractors have mandatory purchasing requirements. As USDA identifies product categories for mandatory federal purchasing, minimum biobased content is established for the category.

Biobased product purchasing requirements are included in solicitations, blanket purchase agreements, contracts, and specifications. Requirements also extend to purchases made through purchase cards, electronic catalogs, and other procurement vehicles.

Directives for the Mandatory Purchasing of Biobased Products

Mandatory federal purchasing requirements for biobased products were established in the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded in the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills. Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, includes provisions that increase federal agency accountability for meeting BioPreferred requirements. Biobased purchasing requirements are detailed throughout the Federal Acquisition Regulation including acquisition planning, mandatory purchasing by purchase card, source selection, mandatory contract clauses, and general policy and provisions. For further information see Policies and Laws.

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.