What are biobased products?

Biobased products are materials which are synthesized from natural resources, specifically biomass from food crops, forests, grasses, algae and other organic sources. Currently, there are an abundance of these resources which are already being utilized to make a variety of products. These products range from fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, to materials like dyes, detergents, and adhesives. By reducing the biomass to its basic building blocks, products can be made to accommodate almost any need. One important misconception that must be addressed is the difference between biobased products and biodegradable products. While many biobased products are biodegradable, biodegradability is not a classifying criterion. Biobased simply implies that the base materials for a product are derived from natural biological materials.

Although biobased products may not all be biodegradable, several are recyclable. The incorporation of recyclable biobased materials in a product allows for the breakdown and reuse of the majority of the materials with little loss of properties or functionality.

Resources which these materials are derived from include sustainable wood pulp, fibrous plants, algae, food waste and other biomass. Once processed into the base materials, products can be made which include:

  • Personal care products
  • Plastics
  • Carpet
  • Fuel
  • Insulation
  • Lubricants
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Packaging and shipping supplies
  • Deicers
  • Fertilizers