The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred program, which designates bio-based product categories for preferred federal procurement, has opened to wood products as of yesterday.

This means wood products manufacturers can now apply for a BioPreferred label by demonstrating that they utilize any of a number of recognized “innovative approaches” during the life cycle of their product. One of the possible innovative criteria applicants can meet is through environmental product declarations (EPDs).

The wood products industry has produced EPDs for all major product lines and took the process one step further by ensuring each EPD was third-party verified, according to the American Wood Council, which applauded the move making wood products eligible to be recognized in USDA bio-based programs.

The USDA launched the voluntary labeling program for bio-based industrial and commercial products in 2011, but stopped processing applications in January due to a lack of funding.

It reopened its BioPreferred certification program to applications in July. Companies can apply for the voluntary label via a web portal. The website also includes a map that shows the locations of more than 3,000 companies in the U.S. that either manufacture or distribute bio-based products.

From Environmental Leader: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/09/03/biopreferred-label-open-to-wood-products/