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Bio-Based Products

Now a preferred part of facilities greeining initiatives, the federal government is looking to set the example, based on Executive Order 13423. How can United help you to select the right bio-based products for your needs?

What is bio-based?

Depending who you ask that question of, you may get different answers.

The general definition of bio-based as defined by the 2002 Farm Bill, is commercial or industrial products (not including food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products, renewable agricultural materials (including plant, animal and marine materials), or forestry materials. Typically these products should have a minimum of 25% bio-based content.

The USDA BioPreferred program expands this definition. The USDA created different product category definitions, assigning the minimum percentage of bio-based content needed within a product to qualify as being bio-based or BioPreferred for that product category.

Their definition further details that the bio-based content of a product is the amount of carbon in the product that comes from a renewable plant, animal or marine resource. That biological carbon further must not be petroleum derived. Following these guidelines the bio-based products are more environmentally friendly, typically more biodegradable, and have lower disposal costs than the petroleum products they are meant to replace.

As the USDA BioPreferred program continues with its implementation, producers can list themselves in a general USDA catalog for products that comply based on the definitions set forth. They can also now go a step further and invest in BioPreferred labeling to help make these products more easily identifiable for those procuring the products.

How Can United Laboratories help you to select the right products for your needs?

Ask your United representative to show you how you can begin using bio-based products in your organization. If you don't have a United representative, we are happy to help! Call 1-800-323-2594.

what is driving the bio-based movement?

One driving factor toward purchasing bio-based products is the continuation of the green movement, by which we all reflect our social and environmental responsibility by utilizing products that are safer for both the user and the environment. However; this is not the largest factor at this time.

Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13423, “Strengthening Federal, Enviromental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” and EO 13514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance,” mandate the purchase of bio-based products, along with other directives, for federal facilities, government agencies and the military. While these are not new Executive Orders, they were put in place with timelines for compliance. With clearer definitions of bio-based and the deadlines for compliance nearer on the horizon, the push is back on to make sure the federal facilities are setting the example for all of us to follow.

Goals included in EO 13423:

  • Energy Efficiency

    Reduce energy intensity 30% by 2015, compared to 2003 baseline.

  • Greenhouse Gases

    Reduce GHG emissions by 30% by 2015, compared to 2003 baseline.

  • Water Conservation

    Reduce water consumption intensity by 16% by 2015, compared to 2007 baseline.

  • Pollution Prevention

    Reduce use of chemicals and toxic materials and purchase lower risk chemicals and toxic materials.

  • Procurement

    Expand purchases of environmentally sound goods and services, including bio-based products.

EO 13514 Expands on the above, including:

  • Water Conservation

    Increasing reduction to 26% by 2020, compared to 2007 baseline.

  • Procurement

    Ensure 95% of new contract actions(task and delivery) are:

While our focus here is on bio-based products that will help with procurement and pollution prevention goals, it is important to note that many other products in United’s line can be key factors in reaching additional environmental goals as well.

Water Conservation/Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gases – United’s Cycle Smart™ program and products used in cooling tower systems will increase efficiency, provide energy savings and conserve water.

Pollution Prevention/Procurement – In addition to the bio-based products United offers, United has been supplying Earth Smart® Certified products since 1992. These products are safer for both users and the environment, providing green alternatives that work.

Some of our most popular Bio-based products:

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