The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a Final Rule on April 4, 2012, which adds 13 product categories to the USDA’s BioPreferred federal procurement program. The BioPreferred Program is intended to promote federal procurement of “biobased products” (i.e., commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products, renewable agricultural materials, or forestry materials).

In a February 2012 Presidential Memorandum, which we discussed here, President Obama ordered the USDA to increase the number of biobased product categories designated for preferred purchasing. At the time, there were 64 categories of products (representing approximately 9,000 individual products) on the BioPreferred list; the addition of 13 new categories under the Final Rule brings the total to 77 designated product categories.

The 13 new product categories are:

  • Air fresheners and deodorizers (minimum biobased content of at least 97%)
  • Asphalt and tar removers (minimum biobased content of at least 80%)
  • Asphalt restorers (minimum biobased content of at least 68%)
  • Blast media (minimum biobased content of at least 974)
  • Candles and wax melts (minimum biobased content of at least 88%)
  • Electronic components cleaners (minimum biobased content of at least 91%)
  • Non-carpet floor coverings (minimum biobased content of at least 91%)
  • Foot care products (minimum biobased content of at least 83%; includes all “[p]roducts formulated to be used in the soothing or cleaning of feet”)
  • Furniture cleaners and protectors (minimum biobased content of at least 71%)
  • Inks (minimum biobased content is based on subcategory of ink; requirements range from 20% for certain printer toners to 67% for color sheetfed inks)
  • Packing and insulating materials (minimum biobased content of at least 74%)
  • Pneumatic equipment lubricants (minimum biobased content of at least 67%)
  • Wood and concrete stains (minimum biobased content of at least 39%)

Procuring agencies must give procurement preferences to qualifying products under each of the above 13 categories, and agency procurement specifications must require the use of biobased products in each of the above 13 categories, by no later than April 4, 2013.