U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Nov 27, 2022
(a) Purpose. The purpose of the guidelines in this part is to assist procuring agencies in complying with the requirements of section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), Public Law 107-171, 116 Stat. 476 (7 U.S.C. 8102), as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Public Law 110-246, 122 Stat. 1651, as they apply to the procurement of the products designated in subpart B of this part.
(b) Scope. The guidelines in this part establish a process for designating categories of products that are, or can be, produced with biobased components and materials and whose procurement by procuring agencies and other relevant stakeholders will carry out the objectives of section 9002 of FSRIA. The guidelines also establish a process for designating categories of intermediate ingredients and feedstocks that are, or can be, used to produce final products that will be designated and, thus, subject to Federal preferred procurement. The guidelines also establish a process for calculating the biobased content of complex assembly products, whose biobased content cannot be measured following ASTM Standard Method D6866, and for designating complex assembly product categories.
These definitions apply to this part:
Agricultural materials. Agricultural-based, including plant, animal, and marine materials, raw materials or residues used in the manufacture of commercial or industrial, nonfood/nonfeed products.
ASTM International. ASTM International, a nonprofit organization organized in 1898, is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world with about 30,000 members in over 100 different countries. ASTM provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services.
BEES. An acronym for “Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability,” an analytic tool used to determine the environmental and health benefits and life cycle costs of products and materials, developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Biobased components. Any intermediary biobased materials or parts that, in combination with other components, are functional parts of the biobased product.
Biobased content. Biobased content shall be determined based on the amount of biobased carbon in the material or product as a percent of weight (mass) of the total organic carbon in the material or product.
Biobased product. (1) A product determined by USDA to be a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that is:
(i) Composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products, including renewable domestic agricultural materials and forestry materials; or
(ii) An intermediate ingredient or feedstock.
(2) The term “biobased product” includes, with respect to forestry materials, forest products that meet biobased content requirements, notwithstanding the market share the product holds, the age of the product, or whether the market for the product is new or emerging.
Biodegradability. A quantitative measure of the extent to which a material is capable of being decomposed by biological agents, especially bacteria.
Biological products. Products derived from living materials other than agricultural or forestry materials.
Complex assembly. A system of distinct materials and components assembled to create a finished product with specific functional intent where some or all of the system inputs contain some amount of biobased material or feedstock.
Designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock category. A generic grouping of biobased intermediate ingredients or feedstocks identified in subpart B of this part that, when comprising more than 50 percent (or another amount as specified in subpart B of this part) of a resultant final product, qualifies the resultant final product for the procurement preference established under section 9002 of FSRIA.
Designated product category. A generic grouping of biobased products, including those final products made from designated intermediate ingredients or feedstocks, or complex assemblies identified in subpart B of this part, that is eligible for the procurement preference established under section 9002 of FSRIA.
Diluent. A substance used to diminish the strength, scent, or other basic property of a substance.
Engineered wood products. Products produced with a combination of wood, food fibers and adhesives.
EPA-designated recovered content product. A product, designated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, that is subject to Federal procurement as specified in section 6002 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 6962), whereby Federal agencies must give preferred procurement to those products composed of the highest percentage of recovered materials practicable, subject to availability, cost, and performance.
FCEA. The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-246.
Federal agency. Any executive agency or independent establishment in the legislative or judicial branch of the Government (except the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Architect of the Capitol, and any activities under the Architect's direction).
Filler. A substance added to a product to increase the bulk, weight, viscosity, strength, or other property.
Forest product. A product made from materials derived from the practice of forestry or the management of growing timber. The term “forest product” includes:
(1) Pulp, paper, paperboard, pellets, lumber, and other wood products; and
(2) Any recycled products derived from forest materials.
Forest thinnings. Refers to woody materials removed from a dense forest, primarily to improve growth, enhance forest health, or recover potential mortality. (To recover potential mortality means to remove trees that are going to die in the near future.)
Formulated product. A product that is prepared or mixed with other ingredients, according to a specified formula and includes more than one ingredient.
FSRIA. The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-171, 116 Stat. 134 (7 U.S.C. 8102).
Functional unit. A measure of product technical performance that provides a common reference to which all environmental and economic impacts of the product are scaled. This reference is necessary to ensure comparability of performance results across competing products. Comparability of results is critical when competing product alternatives are being assessed to ensure that such comparisons are made on a common basis. For example, the functional unit for competing interior paint products may be defined as “protecting one square foot of interior wall surface for 50 years.”
Ingredient. A component; part of a compound or mixture; may be active or inactive.
Intermediate ingredient or feedstock. A material or compound made in whole or in significant part from biological products, including renewable agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forestry materials that have undergone value added processing (including thermal, chemical, biological, or a significant amount of mechanical processing), excluding harvesting operations, offered for sale by a manufacturer or vendor and that is subsequently used to make a more complex compound or product.
ISO. The International Organization for Standardization, a network of national standards institutes from 145 countries working in partnership with international organizations, governments, industries, business, and consumer representatives.
Neat product. A product that is made of only one ingredient and is not diluted or mixed with other substances.
Procuring agency. Any Federal agency that is using Federal funds for procurement or any person contracting with any Federal agency with respect to work performed under the contract.
Qualified biobased product. A product that is eligible for Federal preferred procurement because it meets the definition and minimum biobased content criteria for one or more designated product categories, or one or more designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories, as specified in subpart B of this part.
Relative price. The price of a product as compared to the price of other products on the market that have similar performance characteristics.
Relevant stakeholder. Individuals or officers of state or local government organizations, private non-profit institutions or organizations, and private businesses or consumers.
Renewable chemical. A monomer, polymer, plastic, formulated product, or chemical substance produced from renewable biomass.
Residues. That which remains after a part is taken, separated, removed, or designated; a remnant; a remainder; and, for this purpose, is from agricultural materials, biological products, or forestry materials.
Secretary. The Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Small and emerging private business enterprise. Any private business which will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in projected annual gross revenues.
Sustainably managed forests. Refers to the practice of a land stewardship ethic that integrates the reforestation, management, growing, nurturing, and harvesting of trees for useful products while conserving soil and improving air and water quality, wildlife, fish habitat, and aesthetics.
(a) Applicability to procurement actions. The guidelines in this part apply to all procurement actions by procuring agencies involving items designated by USDA in this part, where the procuring agency purchases $10,000 or more worth of one of these items during the course of a fiscal year, or where the quantity of such items or of functionally equivalent items purchased during the preceding fiscal year was $10,000 or more. The $10,000 threshold applies to Federal agencies as a whole rather than to agency subgroups such as regional offices or subagencies of a larger Federal department or agency.
(b) Exception for procurements subject to EPA regulations under the Solid Waste Disposal Act. For any procurement by any procuring agency that is subject to regulations of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under section 6002 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended by the Resource Conservation Act of 1976 (40 CFR part 247), these guidelines do not apply to the extent that the requirements of this part are inconsistent with such regulations.
(c) Procuring products composed of the highest percentage of biobased content. Section 9002(a)(2) of FSRIA requires procuring agencies to procure qualified biobased products composed of the highest percentage of biobased content practicable or such products that comply with the regulations issued under section 103 of Public Law 100-556 (42 U.S.C. 6914b-1). Procuring agencies may decide not to procure such qualified biobased products if they are not reasonably priced or readily available or do not meet specified or reasonable performance standards.
(d) This guideline does not apply to purchases of qualified biobased products that are unrelated to or incidental to Federal funding; i.e., not the direct result of a contract or agreement with persons supplying items to a procuring agency or providing support services that include the supply or use of products.
(e) Exemptions. The following applications are exempt from the preferred procurement requirements of this part:
(1) Military equipment: Products or systems designed or procured for combat or combat-related missions.
(2) Spacecraft systems and launch support equipment.
(a) Integration into the Federal procurement framework. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in cooperation with USDA, has the responsibility to coordinate this policy's implementation in the Federal procurement regulations. These guidelines are not intended to address full implementation of these requirements into the Federal procurement framework. This will be accomplished through revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
(b) Federal agency preferred procurement programs. (1) On or before July 31, 2015, each Federal agency shall develop a procurement program which will assure that qualified biobased products are purchased to the maximum extent practicable and which is consistent with applicable provisions of Federal procurement laws. Each procurement program shall contain:
(i) A preference program for purchasing qualified biobased products;
(ii) A promotion program to promote the preference program;
(iii) Provisions for the annual review and monitoring of the effectiveness of the procurement program; and
(iv) Provisions for reporting quantities and types of biobased products purchased by the Federal agency.
(2) In developing the preference program, Federal agencies shall adopt one of the following options, or a substantially equivalent alternative, as part of the procurement program:
(i) A policy of awarding contracts on a case-by-case basis to the vendor offering a qualified biobased product composed of the highest percentage of biobased content practicable except when such products:
(A) Are not available within a reasonable time;
(B) Fail to meet performance standards set forth in the applicable specifications, or the reasonable performance standards of the Federal agency; or
(C) Are available only at an unreasonable price.
(ii) A policy of setting minimum biobased content specifications in such a way as to assure that the required biobased content of qualified biobased products is consistent with section 9002 of FSRIA and the requirements of the guidelines in this part except when such products:
(A) Are not available within a reasonable time;
(B) Fail to meet performance standards for the use to which they will be put, or the reasonable performance standards of the Federal agency; or
(C) Are available only at an unreasonable price.
(3) In implementing the preference program, Federal agencies shall treat as eligible for the preference biobased products from “designated countries,” as that term is defined in section 25.003 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, provided that those products otherwise meet all requirements for participation in the preference program.
(4) No later than June 15, 2016, each Federal agency shall establish a targeted biobased-only procurement requirement under which the procuring agency shall issue a certain number of biobased-only contracts when the procuring agency is purchasing products, or purchasing services that include the use of products, that are included in a biobased product category designated by the Secretary.
(c) Procurement specifications. After the publication date of each designated product category and each designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock category, Federal agencies that have the responsibility for drafting or reviewing specifications for products procured by Federal agencies shall ensure within a specified time frame that their specifications require the use of qualified biobased products, consistent with the guidelines in this part. USDA will specify the allowable time frame in each designation rule. The biobased content of qualified biobased products within a designated product category or a designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock category may vary considerably from product to product based on the mix of ingredients used in its manufacture. Likewise, the biobased content of qualified biobased products that qualify because they are made from materials within designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories may also vary significantly. In procuring qualified biobased products, the percentage of biobased content should be maximized, consistent with achieving the desired performance for the product.
(a) Procedure. Designated product categories, designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories, and designated final product categories composed of qualifying intermediate ingredients or feedstocks are listed in subpart B of this part.
(1) In designating product categories, USDA will designate categories composed of generic groupings of specific products or complex assemblies and will identify the minimum biobased content for each listed category or subcategory. As product categories are designated for procurement preference, they will be added to subpart B of this part.
(2) In designating intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories, USDA will designate categories composed of generic groupings of specific intermediate ingredients or feedstocks, and will identify the minimum biobased content for each listed category or sub-category. As categories are designated for product qualification, they will be added to subpart B of this part. USDA encourages manufacturers and vendors of intermediate ingredients or feedstocks to provide USDA with information relevant to significant potential applications for intermediate ingredients or feedstocks, including estimates of typical formulation rates.
(3) During the process of designating intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories, USDA will also gather information on the various types of final products that are, or can be, made from those intermediate ingredients or feedstocks. Final products that fall within existing designated product categories will be subject to the minimum biobased content requirements for those product categories, as specified in subpart B of this part. New product categories that are identified during the information gathering process will be listed in the
(b) Considerations. (1) In designating product categories and intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories, USDA will consider the availability of qualified biobased products and the economic and technological feasibility of using such products, including price. USDA will gather information on individual qualified biobased products within a category and extrapolate that information to the category level for consideration in designating categories.
(2) In designating product categories and intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories for the BioPreferred Program, USDA will consider as eligible only those products that use innovative approaches in the growing, harvesting, sourcing, procuring, processing, manufacturing, or application of the biobased product. USDA will consider products that meet one or more of the criteria in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section to be eligible for the BioPreferred Program. USDA will also consider other documentation of innovative approaches in the growing, harvesting, sourcing, procuring, processing, manufacturing, or application of biobased products on a case-by-case basis. USDA may exclude from the BioPreferred Program any products whose manufacturers are unable to provide USDA with the documentation necessary to verify claims that innovative approaches are used in the growing, harvesting, sourcing, procuring, processing, manufacturing, or application of their biobased products.
(i) Product applications. (A) The biobased product or material is used or applied in applications that differ from historical applications; or
(B) The biobased product or material is grown, harvested, manufactured, processed, sourced, or applied in other innovative ways; or
(C) The biobased content of the product or material makes its composition different from products or material used for the same historical uses or applications.
(ii) Manufacturing and processing. (A) The biobased product or material is manufactured or processed using renewable, biomass energy or using technology that is demonstrated to increase energy efficiency or reduce reliance on fossil-fuel based energy sources; or
(B) The biobased product or material is manufactured or processed with technologies that ensure high feedstock material recovery and use.
(iii) Environmental Product Declaration. The product has a current Environmental Product Declaration as defined by International Standard ISO 14025, Environmental Labels and Declarations - Type III Environmental Declarations - Principles and Procedures.
(iv) Raw material sourcing. (A) The raw material used in the product is sourced from a Legal Source, a Responsible Source, or a Certified Source as designated by ASTM D7612-10, Standard Practice for Categorizing Wood and Wood-Based Products According to Their Fiber Sources; or
(B) The raw material used in the product is 100% resourced or recycled (such as material obtained from building deconstruction); or
(C) The raw material used in the product is from an urban environment and is acquired as a result of activities related to a natural disaster, land clearing, right-of-way maintenance, tree health improvement, or public safety.
(c) Exclusions. Motor vehicle fuels, heating oil, and electricity are excluded by statute from this program.
(a) Informational Web site. An informational USDA Web site implementing section 9002 of FSRIA can be found at: http://www.biopreferred.gov. USDA will maintain a voluntary Web-based information site for manufacturers and vendors of qualified biobased products and Federal agencies to exchange information, as described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section.
(1) Product information. The Web site will, as determined to be necessary by the Secretary based on the availability of data, provide information as to the availability, price, biobased content, performance and environmental and public health benefits of the designated product categories and designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock categories. USDA encourages manufacturers and vendors to provide product and business contact information for designated categories. Instructions for posting information are found on the Web site itself. USDA also encourages Federal agencies to utilize this Web site to obtain current information on designated categories, contact information on manufacturers and vendors, and access to information on product characteristics relevant to procurement decisions. In addition to any information provided on the Web site, manufacturers and vendors are expected to provide relevant information to Federal agencies, subject to the limitations specified in § 3201.8(a), with respect to product characteristics, including verification of such characteristics if requested.
(2) National Testing Center Registry. The Web site will include an electronic listing of recognized industry standard testing organizations that will serve biobased product manufacturers such as ASTM International, Society of Automotive Engineers, and the American Petroleum Institute. USDA encourages stakeholders to submit information on other possible testing resources to the BioPreferred program for inclusion.
(b) Advertising, labeling and marketing claims. Manufacturers and vendors are reminded that their advertising, labeling, and other marketing claims, including claims regarding health and environmental benefits of the product, must conform to the Federal Trade Commission “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,” 16 CFR part 260 (see: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_08/16cfr260_08.html). For further requirements, click on the link to the “Guidelines for Marketing the BioPreferred Program.”
(a) Certification requirements. For any qualified biobased product offered for preferred procurement, manufacturers and vendors must certify that the product meets the biobased content requirements for the designated product category or designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock category within which the qualified biobased product falls. Paragraph (c) of this section addresses how to determine biobased content. Upon request, manufacturers and vendors must provide USDA and Federal agencies information to verify biobased content for products certified to qualify for preferred procurement.
(b) Minimum biobased content. Unless specified otherwise in the designation of a particular product category or intermediate ingredient or feedstock category, the minimum biobased content requirements in a specific category designation refer to the organic carbon portion of the product, and not the entire product.
(c) Determining biobased content. Verification of biobased content must be based on third party ASTM/ISO compliant test facility testing using the ASTM Standard Method D6866, “Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis.” ASTM Standard Method D6866 determines biobased content based on the amount of biobased carbon in the material or product as percent of the weight (mass) of the total organic carbon in the material or product.
(1) Biobased products, intermediate ingredients or feedstocks. Biobased content will be based on the amount of biobased carbon in the product or material as a percent of the weight (mass) of the total organic carbon in the product or material.
(2) Final products composed of designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock materials. The biobased content of final products composed of designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock materials will be determined by calculating the percentage by weight (mass) that the biobased component of each designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock material represents of the total organic carbon content of the final product and summing the results (if more than one designated intermediate ingredient or feedstock is used). If the final product also contains biobased content from intermediate ingredient or feedstock material that is not designated, the percentage by weight that these biobased ingredients represent of the total organic carbon content should be included in the calculation.
(3) Complex assemblies. The biobased content of a complex assembly product, where the product has “n” components whose biobased and organic carbon content can be experimentally determined, will be calculated using the following equation:
(d) Products and intermediate ingredients or feedstocks with the same formulation. In the case of products and intermediate ingredients or feedstocks that are essentially the same formulation, but marketed under more than one brand name, biobased content test data need not be brand-name specific.
(a) Providing information on price and environmental and health benefits. Federal agencies may not require manufacturers or vendors of qualified biobased products to provide to procuring agencies more data than would be required of other manufacturers or vendors offering products for sale to a procuring agency (aside from data confirming the biobased contents of the products) as a condition of the purchase of biobased products from the manufacturer or vendor. USDA will work with manufacturers and vendors to collect information needed to estimate the price of biobased products, complex assemblies, intermediate materials or feedstocks as part of the designation process, including application units, average unit cost, and application frequency. USDA encourages industry stakeholders to provide information on environmental and public health benefits based on industry accepted analytical approaches including, but not limited to: Material carbon footprint analysis, the ASTM D7075 standard for evaluating and reporting on environmental performance of biobased products, the International Standards Organization ISO 14040, the ASTM International life-cycle cost method (E917) and multi-attribute decision analysis (E1765), the British Standards Institution PAS 2050, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology BEES analytical tool. USDA will make such stakeholder-supplied information available on the BioPreferred Web site.
(b) Performance test information. In assessing performance of qualified biobased products, USDA requires that procuring agencies rely on results of performance tests using applicable ASTM, ISO, Federal or military specifications, or other similarly authoritative industry test standards. Such testing must be conducted by a laboratory compliant with the requirements of the standards body. The procuring official will decide whether performance data must be brand-name specific in the case of products that are essentially of the same formulation.
(c) Biodegradability information. If biodegradability is claimed by the manufacturer of a qualifying biobased product as a characteristic of that product, USDA requires that, if requested by procuring agencies, these claims be verified using the appropriate, product-specific ASTM biodegradability standard(s). Such testing must be conducted by an ASTM/ISO-compliant laboratory. The procuring official will decide whether biodegradability data must be brand-name specific in the case of products that are essentially of the same formulation. ASTM biodegradability standards include:
(1) D5338 “Standard Test Method for Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Controlled Composting Conditions”;
(2) D5864 “Standard Test Method for Determining the Aerobic Aquatic Biodegradation of Lubricants or Their Components”;
(3) D6006 “Standard Guide for Assessing Biodegradability of Hydraulic Fluids”;
(4) D6400 “Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics” and the standards cited therein;
(5) D6139 “Standard Test Method for Determining the Aerobic Aquatic Biodegradation of Lubricants or Their Components Using the Gledhill Shake Flask”;
(6) D6868 “Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates”; and
(7) D7081 “Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment.”