USDA Designates Eight Additional Biobased Product Categories for Purchasing Preference
ROUND 10 – JUNE 2013
On June 11, 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule (referred to as “Round 10”) to add eight new designated biobased product categories to the existing list of designated biobased product categories afforded federal procurement preference. The additional product categories are: aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products; engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils. USDA also added one new subcategory to a previously designated product category: ‘‘countertops’’ to the composite panels category. Finally, USDA has chosen to delay designation of a proposed new subcategory to the greases category, ‘‘wheel bearing and chassis grease,’’ for further review.
The final rule, as it appeared in the Federal Register notice (78 FR 34867), is viewable here.
Designated product categories are afforded a Federal purchasing preference under Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.
New Categories Proposed for Designation
USDA designated the following eight product categories along with a minimum biobased content for each. NOTE: USDA revised the minimum biobased content of the engine crankcase oil product category upward to 25 percent from the proposed level of 18 percent.
|Product Category||Minimum Biobased Content|
|Aircraft Cleaners and Boat Cleaners
|Automotive Care Products||75%|
|Engine Crankcase Oil||25%|
|Gasoline Fuel Additives||92%|
|Metal Cleaners and Corrosion Removers
Stainless Steel Cleaners
Other Metal Cleaners
|Microbial Cleaning Products
Drain Maintenance Products
Wastewater Maintenance Products
|Water Turbine Bearing Oils||46%|
New Subcategories Proposed for Designation
On May 14, 2008, USDA finalized the designation of several product categories including one for composite panels (73 FR 27954) and one for greases (73 FR 27974). Each of these product categories included subcategories. Since that time, USDA states that it has obtained additional information on products within these two product categories and is now adding one new subcategory within the Composit Panels product category.
|Product Category||Minimum Biobased Content|
After consideration of comments, USDA has decided to delay the designation of the wheel bearing and chassis greases subcategory for further review.
USDA includes exemptions from the preferred procurement requirement for (1) products or systems designed or procured for combat or combat-related missions, and (2) spacecraft systems and launch support equipment. However, USDA states that this exemption does not extend to contractors performing work other than direct maintenance and support of the spacecraft or launch support equipment or combat or combat-related missions. In addition, USDA notes that agencies may purchase biobased products wherever performance, availability and reasonable price indicates that such purchases are justified.
Aircraft and Boat Cleaners – Products designed to remove built-on grease, oil, dirt, pollution, insect residue, or impact soils on both interior and exterior of aircraft and/or boats.
(i) Aircraft cleaners. Cleaning products designed to remove built-on grease, oil, dirt, pollution, insect residue, or impact soils on both interior and exterior of aircraft.
(ii) Boat cleaners. Cleaning products designed to remove built-on grease, oil, dirt, pollution, insect residue, or impact soils on both interior and exterior of boats.
Automotive Care Products – Products formulated for cleaning and protecting automotive surfaces. Typical products include waxes, buffing compounds, polishes, degreasers, soaps, wheel and tire cleaners, leather care products, interior cleaners, and fragrances.
Engine Crankcase Oils – Products formulated to provide lubrication and wear protection for four-cycle gasoline or diesel engines.
Gasoline Fuel Additives – Chemical agents added to gasoline to increase octane levels, improve lubricity, and provide engine cleaning properties to gasoline-fired engines.
Metal Cleaners and Corrosion Removers – Products designed to clean and remove grease, oil, dirt, stains, soils, and rust from metal surfaces.
(i) Corrosion removers. Products that are designed to remove rust from metal surfaces through chemical action.
(ii) Stainless steel cleaners. Products that are designed to clean and remove grease, oil, dirt, stains, and soils from stainless steel surfaces.
(iii) Other metal cleaners. Products that are designed to clean and remove grease, oil, dirt, stains, and soils from metal surfaces other than stainless steel.
Microbial Cleaning Products – Cleaning agents that use microscopic organisms to treat or eliminate waste materials within drains, plumbing fixtures, sewage systems, wastewater treatment systems, or on a variety of other surfaces. These products typically include organisms that digest protein, starch, fat, and cellulose.
(i) Drain maintenance products. Products containing microbial agents that are intended for use in plumbing systems such as sinks, showers, and tubs.
(ii) Wastewater maintenance products. Products containing microbial agents that are intended for use in wastewater systems such as sewer lines and septic tanks.
(iii) General cleaners. Products containing microbial agents that are intended for multi-purpose cleaning in locations such as residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms.
Paint Removers – Products formulated to loosen and remove paint from painted surfaces.
Water Turbine Bearing Oils – Lubricants that are specifically formulated for use in the bearings found in water turbines.
Composite Panels – Countertops – Engineered products that are flat panels designed to serve as horizontal work surfaces in locations such as kitchens, break rooms or other food preparation areas, bathrooms or lavatories, and workrooms.
Greases – Wheel Bearing and Chassis – Lubricants that meet ASTM D4950 Standard Classification as GC and LB (wheel bearing and chassis). These greases are for mild to severe duty wheel bearing and chassis applications.
Overlap with an EPA-designated Recovered Content Product
Engine Crankcase Oils
USDA states that “qualifying products within this item may overlap with the EPA-designated recovered content product: Re-refined lubricating oils. USDA is requesting that manufacturers of these qualifying biobased products provide information on the USDA Web site of qualifying biobased products about the intended uses of the product, information on whether or not the product contains any recovered material, in addition to biobased ingredients, and performance standards against which the product has been tested. This information will assist Federal agencies in determining whether or not a qualifying biobased product overlaps with EPA-designated re-refined lubricating oil products and which product should be afforded the preference in purchasing.”
No later than “one year after the date of publication of the final rule” designating these product categories, Federal agencies and contractors will be required to give a procurement preference for each of the designated product categories. Also, by that date, USDA states that Federal agencies that have the responsibility for drafting or reviewing specifications for products to be procured will have to ensure that the relevant specifications require the use of the designated biobased products.