What Are Biobased Products?
5 min read
Jump to section
As our environment continues to suffer from plastic pollution and a decrease in renewable resources, people are looking for ways to reduce our reliance on petroleum products, like plastics and other non-renewable materials.
Biobased products, made from plant, marine, or animal-based materials, are gaining traction in all consumer and industrial goods. Everything from engine oil to bath products, cleaning solutions, single-use foodservice products, insulation, upholstery, and pens can be biobased. They do not contain feed, fuel, or food and must come from renewable sources.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss biobased products. We’ll learn what they are and their environmental impacts and examine how they can help us live more sustainably.
What are Biobased Products?
Biobased products represent a new wave of innovation and sustainability and are rapidly gaining popularity in today’s market. Derived from renewable biological resources such as plants, algae, agricultural, animal, and various types of biologically derived waste materials, these products provide a more eco-friendly alternative to conventional petroleum-based products.
The growing interest in biobased products stems from their potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and stimulate economic growth by creating new industries and job opportunities.
Moreover, consumer preferences have shifted toward environmentally friendly and sustainable products, further driving the demand for biobased alternatives. As a result, businesses and organizations worldwide are investing in the research, development, and commercialization of biobased solutions to address the ever-evolving challenges of climate impact and resource depletion.
The USDA biobased labeling program is an initiative designed to help consumers make better-informed choices when it comes to choosing sustainable products. In establishing labeling standards for biobased and BioPreferred products, the USDA is essentially endorsing goods and materials made and processed in a way that aligns with their standards.
The USDA’s BioPreferred program was established in 2002 as part of the Farm Act. To date, the program has certified over 2500 products across 100 categories. Once approved, the product can display the USDA Certified Biobased Product seal, which states the product’s guaranteed percentage of biobased material.
USDA certification is not arbitrary. Products cannot be labeled before being tested at an accredited third-party laboratory to confirm the minimum biobased content. The federal government stands behind the accuracy of results, ensuring consumer confidence when buying decisions are made.
The brand is a reliable signal for customers looking to play their part in protecting the environment by purchasing products that reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to sustainable economic growth.
Ultimately, the USDA biobased labeling program empowers both businesses and consumers to become more environmentally responsible, fostering a brighter future for our planet.
Typical Biobased Products Currently on the Market
The market for biobased products has seen tremendous growth and innovation in recent years, leading to a wide variety of eco-friendly alternatives for various consumer and commercial applications.
Among the most notable biobased products are bioplastics, which can replace most traditional petroleum-based plastics in packaging, consumer goods, and automotive parts.
Another breakthrough is bio-based lubricants, engine oil, and fuel, which can significantly reduce environmental impact in industrial operations by minimizing harmful emissions and resource utilization.
Additionally, biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, are playing a crucial role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and fostering energy security. Advancements have also been made in producing biobased foams and insulation materials, offering improved energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.
These diverse applications of biobased products highlight their potential to solve pressing environmental challenges and contribute to market growth and job creation in the rapidly expanding green economy.
Companies Working with Biobased Products
As the sustainability trend gains traction in all segments of our lived experience, several manufacturers have emerged as frontrunners in developing and implementing novel biobased products.
Brands hold the key to market penetration for biobased items. Even if products themselves cannot be made from biobased materials, biobased ingredients can still be used for packaging. Walmart, PepsiCo, and Unilever are just some brands committed to switching to 100% recyclable, compostable, or reusable packaging in the next few years.
Toymaker Lego and high-end cutlery manufacturer Henkel have already introduced sustainable packaging, and many more will follow. Lego has also pledged to switch to biobased plastics for all its toys with a deadline of 2030.
Coca-Cola introduced its 30% biobased PlantBottle in 2009 and, in 2015, revealed a prototype bottle made from 100% biobased PET.
IKEA has also begun its transition to biobased and intends to use only recycled or renewable plastic in all products by 2030. In a very recent announcement, the Swedish company revealed that they will now use only biobased glue. The fascinating part of this reveal is, perhaps, the admission that 5% of the company’s carbon footprint is wrapped up in the use of glue in their board materials.
The above trailblazers have the unique ability to adapt to market changes and anticipate consumer needs, allowing them to transform entire industries and create new ones with these groundbreaking solutions.
And just consider—if something as innocuous as glue can make such a difference to our environmental impact, it drives home the fact that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.
Biobased Foodservice Items from Greenprint
But the big brands aren’t the only ones focused on making the world better with biobased products. Greenprint’s single-use foodservice products, such as straws, cutlery, and takeout containers, provide restaurants and food producers with sustainable options that reinforce their environmental commitment.
Greenprint products comply with the most stringent international composting regulations, and by sourcing all raw materials domestically, we reduce carbon output and accelerate lead times. We’re constantly innovating, always looking for new materials and methodologies that give rise to novel applications.
Like many of our big-brand peers, we are committed to making meaningful changes that contribute to the establishment of a sustainable green economy and doing what we can to be on the leading edge of that change. So before you commit your hard-earned dollars, look for companies promoting biobased, as you can be confident their products are steeped in a sustainable mindset.