Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan unveiled the nation’s
first products approved to display the new USDA product label at a
biobased product meeting held near Cleveland, OH.
“These companies are proving that innovation and agriculture can grow
together to build a foundation for future growth in rural America as we
work to win the future,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. “Consumer
cleaning products, containers, and the ‘intermediate materials’ used to
manufacture them – made from agriculturally-sourced ingredients – help
add value to commodities, create jobs in rural communities, and can
reduce our dependence on imported oil.”
Biobased products are those composed wholly or significantly of
agricultural ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry
materials. This new label indicates that the product has been
independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for
biobased content. Clear Lam was among the first companies to submit
applications for the USDA BioPreferred program, including five product
lines in the packaging category.
“We’re proud to achieve this important distinction under USDA’s
BioPreferred program as it will bring greater clarity to the marketplace
and spur more leading product manufacturers and consumers to embrace
materials that reduce adverse environmental
impacts,” said James Sanfilippo, President and CEO of Clear Lam
Packaging, Inc. “Because many biobased packages look the same as
petroleum-based products, the Biobased Product Label lets everyone know
they can trust manufacturer’s biobased claims as they’ve been verified
through a reliable, rigorous third-party certification process.”
Clear Lam’s renewable thermoformed produce containers are produced from
over 93 percent plant-based bioplastics derived from IngeoTM PLA
(polylactic acid) along with ingredients that add performance
characteristics such as enhanced impact and temperature resistance.
These materials are part of the company’s Project EarthClearTM program
and replace petroleum-based plastics with biobased ingredients developed
to reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere.
In addition to Clear Lam’s renewable thermoformed produce containers
that will now carry the Biobased Product Label, the company has four
other applications underway for its flexible and rigid packages.
Currently, Clear Lam works with several leading retailers and consumer
packaged goods companies to supply renewable packaging.
Walmart has been a leader in introducing sustainable packaging into
everyday use. The Walmart private label Marketside branded Organic
Lettuce containers are one of the first packages certified under the
USDA BioPreferred program. These renewable containers are also used to
package fruits, meats, cheeses, candy and nuts.
Additional packaging Clear Lam has submitted for the BioPreferred
program includes packages for condiments, salty snacks and dairy based
items such as yogurt and cottage cheese.
Over the past seven years Clear Lam has implemented a process of
continuous improvement to produce biobased plastics that perform as well
as petroleum-based plastics. Developing innovative technologies that
help protect the perishable product being packaged while using materials
that have a minimal impact on the environment has been the key
challenge to overcome.
Through implementation of the pre-existing USDA BioPreferred program,
the Secretary of Agriculture has designated 5,100 biobased products for
preferred purchasing by Federal agencies. The new label makes
identification of these products easier for Federal buyers and will
increase awareness of these high-value products in commercial and
consumer markets. USDA estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products
currently being manufactured in the United States.
USDA’s BioPreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill to
increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the Federal
government. Congress reauthorized and strengthened the program in the
2008 Farm Bill to further promote the sale of biobased products. With
the launch of this new Biobased Product Label, USDA’s BioPreferred
program is now comprised of two parts: a biobased product procurement
preference program for Federal agencies, and a voluntary labeling
initiative for the broad-scale marketing of biobased products. To learn
more, please visit www.biopreferred.gov