On October 18, 2010, the USDA issued a final rule (referred to as “Round 6”) to add eight new items to the list of designated biobased items. The items are: disposable tableware; expanded polystyrene foam recycling products; heat transfer fluids; ink removers and cleaners; mulch and compost materials; multipurpose lubricants; topical pain relief products; and turbine drip oils.  The final rule, as it appeared in the Federal Register notice (75 FR 63695), is viewable here.

Designated items, after receiving final approval from USDA, 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.

The following chart lists the eight items along with a minimum biobased content for each item.

Item Minimum Biobased Content
Disposable tableware 72%
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam recycling products 90%
Heat transfer fluids 89%
Ink removers and cleaners 79%
Mulch and compost materials 95%
Multipurpose lubricants 88%
Topical pain relief products 91%
Turbine drip oils 87%

Compliance Date

No later than October 18, 2011, Federal agencies and contractors will be required to give a procurement preference for each of these Round 6 designated items. Also, by that date, Federal agencies that have the responsibility for drafting or reviewing specifications for items to be procured will have to ensure that the relevant specifications require the use of the designated biobased items.


Disposable Tableware – Products used in dining, such as drink ware and dishware, including but not limited to cups, plates, bowls, and serving platters, and that are designed for one-time use. This item does not include disposable cutlery, which is a separate item.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Recycling Products – Products formulated to dissolve EPS foam to reduce the volume of recycled or discarded EPS items.

Heat Transfer Fluids – Products with high thermal capacities used to facilitate the transfer of heat from one location to another, including coolants or refrigerants for use in HVAC applications, internal combustion engines, personal cooling devices, thermal energy storage, or other heating or cooling closed-loops.

Ink Removers and Cleaners – Chemical products designed to remove ink, haze, glaze, and other residual ink contaminants from the surfaces of equipment, such as rollers, used in the textile and printing industries.

Mulch and Compost Materials – Products designed to provide a protective covering placed over the soil, primarily to keep down weeds and to improve the appearance of landscaping. Compost is the aerobically decomposed remnants of organic materials used in gardening and agriculture as a soil amendment, and commercially by the landscaping and container nursery industries.

Multipurpose Lubricants – Products designed to provide lubrication under a variety of conditions and in a variety of industrial settings to prevent friction or rust. Greases, which are lubricants composed of oils thickened to a semisolid or solid consistency using soaps, polymers or other solids, or other thickeners, are not included in this item. In addition, task specific lubricants, such as chain and cable lubricants and gear lubricants, are not included in this item.

Topical Pain Relief Products – Products that can be balms, creams and other topical treatments used for the relief of muscle, joint, headache, and nerve pain, as well as sprains, bruises, swelling, and other aches.

Turbine Drip Oils – Products that are lubricants for use in drip lubrication systems for water well line shaft bearings, water turbine bearings for irrigation pumps, and other turbine bearing applications.