You may have heard the term “bio-based chemicals” but really didn’t understand what it meant. We’ll dive into the phrase “bio-based” and explain what it means as well as how it applies to our bio-based dry cleaning solvent.
A few terms to know before we dig into the details:
Bio-based chemical: A chemical derived or synthesized in whole or in part from biological materials.
Biodegradability: A quantitative measure of the extent to which biological agents, especially bacteria, can decompose a material.
Crude oil: Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that formed from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Crude oil is a fossil fuel, and it exists in liquid form in underground pools or reservoirs, in tiny spaces within sedimentary rocks, and near the surface in tar (or oil) sands. Petroleum products are fuels made from crude oil and other hydrocarbons contained in natural gas. Petroleum products can also be made from coal, natural gas, and biomass. It is non-renewable.
Renewable Resource: A raw material or energy form, such as agricultural products or solar energy that can be replenished at a rate similar to the rate at which it is used.
USDA Certified Biobased Product: A biobased product that has met the BioPreferred® Program’s criteria to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product certification mark.
Back to our question: what are bio-based chemicals? Bio-based chemicals derived from plants. Traditional chemicals are petroleum-derived called petrochemicals.
From the USDA, “Bio-based products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum-derived products. Bio-based products include diverse categories such as lubricants, cleaning products, inks, fertilizers, and bioplastics.”
The bio-based products sector impacted every state in the nation, not just those where agriculture is the main industry. In two years, it contributed $459 billion to the United States economy, up 17% and employed 4.65 million workers. It was estimated that each job in the bio-based industry supported 1.78 jobs in other sectors of the economy. [from the USDA BioPreferred Bio-Based Products Economic Analysis Report]