January 20, 2011

USDA Approved Eco-Friendly Product Seals Coming Soon

New U.S.-approved labels will soon be showing up on eco-friendly products, including household cleaners and skin-care items.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the new voluntary seal on Wednesday.  The seal is expected to start showing up on products this spring. 

"Today's consumers are increasingly interested in making educated purchasing choices for their families. This label will make those decisions easier by identifying products as biobased," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan in an announcement.

She said the products have "enormous potential to create green jobs in rural communities, add value to agricultural commodities, decrease environmental impacts and reduce our dependence on imported oil."

The "USDA Certified Biobased Product" seal will list how much of the product is made from corn, soy or other renewable sources.  Products will need to meet minimum bio-based content standards in order to qualify.

"I think its time has come," William Horner, CEO of Totally Green, a company that sells spring water in corn-based bottles, told the Des Moines Register.

He said that his company will ask to use the seal as soon as the USDA starts taking applications next month.

The new label is part of the USDA's BioPreferred program, which the 2002 Farm Bill helped to create.

The department already has about 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by federal agencies. 

The USDA estimates that about 20,000 biobased products are currently being manufactured in the U.S., accounting for over 100,000 jobs.


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