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The use of compostable

The use of compostable plastic bags, however, brings into question the validity of a product’s environmental claims. Municipalities – and residents – need to be able to rely on products performing in the manner expected. As a result, the BNQ is developing its own certification program, one that will be interchangeable with other internationally recognized certification programs. At the same time, testing is underway to determine what, if any, effects the integration of compostable plastic bags will have on the already established plastic bag recycling stream. The results of these tests are expected to be available by year end. CPIA believes that there is indeed a market for degradable plastics, such as compostable plastic bags. These markets, however, remain only niche markets at this time. bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1 27

Politics Federal Agencies in the USA shall buy bioplastics products Standards and Status of the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program Contributed article by Dr. Marvin Duncan, Senior Agricultural Economist, USDA/Office of the Chief Economist/Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Washington D.C., USA Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program The Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program provides that Federal agencies in the USA must give purchasing preference to biobased products designated by this program. The authority for the program is included in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA) of 2002. Section 9002 of this Act provides for a preferred procurement and labeling program and defines biobased products as commercial or industrial products that are composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal, and marine materials) or forestry materials. Domestic content is interpreted to mean content not only from the USA but also from any country with which the United States has a preferential trade agreement. Countries that are signatories to NAFTA and CAFTA, for example, will have their qualifying biobased products treated as domestic products. The US congress created this program • To spur demand growth for new biobased products • To grow demand for agricultural commodities • To encourage development of processing and manufacturing in rural communities • To capture environmental benefits • To enhance the Nation‘s energy security The program requires, that all Federal agencies in the USA must give preference to biobased products that have been designated by the program, unless: • The products are not reasonably available • The products fail to meet performance standards for the application intended • The products are available only at an unreasonable price Integration with other preference programs The RCRA recycled products program, for example, has priority over the biobased program. Where environmental attributes are available in biobased product but not RCRA product, biobased product may be purchased. There are other preference programs like Energy Star, Environmentally Preferable etc, that are to be implemented by Federal agencies in an integrated manner. What does the program do for Federal agencies, manufacturers and vendors? The program encourages the purchase of more environmentally sustainable products. It helps agencies to identify those products, it will increase the availability and diversity of biobased products and it helps agencies reduce environmental footprint. For manufacturers and vendors of biobased products, the program creates a preferred 28 bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1

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