Looks like biofuels are just the beginning. I remember a long time ago, while traveling in Europe, being amazed at these little styrofoam-like containers my fast food french fries came in when buying from certain street vendors. The vendors told us we could eat the packaging, because it was made from plant-based materials. It tasted horrible (bland and dry and somehow sticky), but I nibbled at the packages anyway, just because I could. Now I see that the Europeans were ahead of us in America with biobased products (at least in the restaurant cutlery division). But the USDA is now trying to play catch-up.

The department announced last week a list of 20 items that the federal government "that must receive special consideration by all federal agencies when making purchases". These items - things like roof coatings and hydraulic fluids - are all biobased and are the first batch of 1,500 biobased products the USDA will recommend. The law says that federal agencies must give preference to designated biobased products in government purchases within one year of publication of the final designation rule, according to the USDA. Of interest to green engine enthusiasts might be the biobased two-cycle engine oils.

Here's the complete list of 20 of generic groupings of biobased products: adhesive and mastic removers, insulating foam for wall construction, hand cleaners and sanitizers, composite panels, fluid-filled transformers, biodegradable containers, fertilizers, metalworking fluids, sorbents, graffiti and grease removers, two-cycle engine oils, lipcare products, biodegradable films, stationary equipment hydraulic fluids, biodegradable cutlery, glass cleaners, greases, dust suppressants, carpets, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

[Source: USDA]


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