USDA has published its final rule on a voluntary product certification and labeling program for “biopreferred products” – bio-based materials containing products (like NatureWorks corn-based polylactic acid polymers). See rule and guidance here. The program is set for launch Feb 21, 2011.
I’d second Steve Mojo, executive director of the Biodegradable Products Institute: “The label is not talking about or conveying information about end-of-life” or compostability, Mojo said. “It is not a green program, but it will at least help people know what’s in the product.” [Plastics News Jan 24, 2011]
It’s good to have a definition of bio-based content, but it’s not necessarily a net life cycle benefit depending on how much it costs to grow and process the “renewable” material, how well it works and what can be done after end use. Pay attention to FTC Green Guides when making claims beyond simple statements of content. Will consumers figure the USDA label means “green” – somehow I think so.