With so many sustainable brands to choose from, it can be a minefield understanding which brands are truly making a difference. If you didn’t already know how to spot greenwashing, certifications like the USDA’s Biobased Preferred Program also help to give transparency to customers. Natracare have recently been recognised as a ‘pioneer’ in the program, but what does this mean and why are biobased products vital for building a sustainable future?
What are biobased products?
Biobased products contain a diverse range of offerings such as lubricants, detergents, inks, fertilisers, and bioplastics – and are made from ingredients derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials. Generally, this means that biobased products are kinder to the planet as they provide an alternative to conventional crude oil derived products. The reason these petroleum-based ingredients are not as planet friendly is because they contain 0% ‘new or recent’ organic carbon and are therefore made from fossil fuel-based organic carbon (whereas a tree for instance, is made with 100% new organic carbon).
What is the USDA Biobased Certification?
Created in 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Bio Preferred Program to help increase the use of renewable resources and reduce our reliance on petroleum. Companies that take part in the Bio Preferred Program use third-party testing by the USDA to ensure that their products meet the ‘strictly monitored’ biobased certified standards. The program’s purpose is to spur economic development, create new jobs and provide new markets for farm commodities. If you find the certification on certain brands, it can be reassuring to know that the product has gone through rigorous testing to meet government guidelines that help support sustainable production methods – which is certainly the future.
Natracare were the first period products brand to be certified with the USDA Biobased certification – making us ‘Pioneers’ in the program, as the ‘early adopters’ of the certification. This recent accolade demonstrates that for over 10 years we’ve proudly committed to sustainability, health, and the highest ethical standards in all our products. Now the program has certified more than 2,500 products in 100 different product categories and continues to be a reputable label that incentivises many customers in their shopping choices.
What does this mean for the environment?
In simpler terms, biobased products displace around 300 million gallons of petroleum per year in the U.S, which is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road! The more we support biobased products, the less we rely on finite resources like fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change.
Some biobased materials help to create a circular economy as they can easily break down back into the soil with minimal harm. If the demand for bioproducts increase, more research and development will go into perfecting the processes: extraction, use and disposal. This will make them even more efficient, accessible, and sustainable. It’s a win, win for the environment but now is more critical than ever as the scarcity of oil means we have to find replacements, and fast.
Why are we Biobased certified?
Since 1989, Natracare has been committed to using natural and organic bio-based materials. We strive to inspire a circular economy that has little impact on the environment – and we refuse to make our products with petroleum-based plastic. For example, the leak-proof layer of our pads and liners is a certified biopolymer made from GM-free plant starch. This is a renewable resource, and a solution to waste disposal problems associated with traditional petroleum-derived plastics. This material is also used as a wrapper for some of our pads and liners.
Using biobased materials also means that those with access to composting facilities are able to dispose of their products in a way that restores it back to the soil. For more information, check out our blog post on composting period products.
Choosing biobased period products is a small change that can make a HUGE difference towards positively impacting the environment and your body. If you’re unsure whether to support a product that claims to be sustainable, look out for reputable labels like the USDA’s Biobased Certification – or try to find out more about the brands ingredient list on their websites.
If you want to learn more about our certifications, check them out here.