USDA Awards NatureWorks First Certified Biobased Product Label for Plastics

Ingeo™ resins USDA certified 100 percent biobased carbon content

MINNETONKA, Minn., April 1, 2011  --  Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that NatureWorks is one of the first 11 companies approved to use USDA’s new product label on its certified bio-based Ingeo products under the department’s BioPreferred program. The announcement was made at a bio-based product meeting held in Glenwillow, Ohio.

NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer – made from plants not oil – is the market-leading material among a new generation of fibers and plastics that provide low-carbon-footprint products. With the BioPreferred label, Ingeo resins are now USDA certified as containing 100 percent biobased carbon content. Ingeo is used in multiple industries and categories, including packaging, electronics, clothing, house wares, health and personal care, semi-durable products and the foodservice industry. More than 500 companies produce Ingeo based products, including such international brands as Avianca, Electrolux, Henkel, NEC, Shiseido, Stonyfield and Walmart. The production of Ingeo uses less fossil fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases than conventional polymers.

"The USDA’s new product label serves as a critical and trusted signpost for consumers by identifying bio-based materials and products that have undergone a robust and rigorous third party certification,” said Steve Davies, director marketing and public affairs, NatureWorks. “NatureWorks is proud to be one of the first to have earned the BioPreferred distinction from the USDA."

NatureWorks is a Cargill-owned company and is one example of the company’s innovations in bio-based products. Cargill also manufactures soy-based BiOH® polyhols used in making flexible foam, which can be used to create upholstered furniture and bedding, carpet backing and automotive cushioning. Additional bio-based industrial products developed by Cargill include naturally sourced oils used to make paints, coatings, construction materials, lubricants and transformer fluids, among other products.

Biobased products are those composed wholly or significantly of agricultural ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. This new label indicates that the product has been independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for bio-based content. Bio-based products can help increase U.S. energy independence by reducing the use of petroleum in manufactured products. They may also reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere, thus mitigating potential climate change impacts.

"These companies are proving that innovation and agriculture can grow together to build a foundation for future growth in rural America as we work to win the future," said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. "Consumer cleaning products, containers and the ‘intermediate materials’ used to manufacture them – made from agriculturally-sourced ingredients – help add value to commodities, create jobs in rural communities and can reduce our dependence on imported oil."

Through implementation of the pre-existing USDA BioPreferred program, the Secretary of Agriculture has designated 5,100 bio-based products for preferred purchasing by federal agencies. The new label makes identification of these products easier for Federal buyers and will increase awareness of these high-value products in the commercial and consumer markets. USDA estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in the United States.

To view numerous examples of how companies around the world have incorporated Ingeo into their products, visit NatureWorks most recent Ingeo LookBook, which illustrates the breadth and increasingly mainstream nature of low-carbon-footprint products now available to the consumer. For more information on Ingeo and NatureWorks, visit and sign up for the company’s newsletter. To learn more about BioPreferred, visit

About NatureWorks

NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon-footprint Ingeo biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. For more information, visit

About USDA’s BioPreferred Program

USDA’s BioPreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill to increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the Federal government. Congress reauthorized and strengthened the program in the 2008 Farm Bill to further promote the sale of biobased products. With the launch of this new biobased product label, USDA’s BioPreferred program is now comprised of two parts: a biobased product procurement preference program for Federal agencies, and a voluntary labeling initiative for the broad-scale marketing of biobased products. To learn more, please visit


Ingeo and the Ingeo logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NatureWorks LLC in the USA and other countries.

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