e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Look For New Eco-Friendly Label

USDA label helps consumers find Eco-Friendly products

The video associated with this story has been removed. Contact web@esf.edu if you need further information.

From household cleaners to bed sheets, some of the most basic household items could soon carry a stamp of approval from the federal government. The United States Department of Agriculture unveiled a label Wednesday for products that meet government standards for being eco-friendly.

"The usefulness of a label is that you can have some backing to it so you know someone is paying attention to what the products are made from and what kinds of impacts they have on the environment," said SUNY-ESF Associate Professor Jack Manno in a story that aired on WSYR Television Jan. 19, 2011.

The USDA intends its new label, called "BioPreferred," to be the ultimate proof of environmentally responsible products. Much like the Energy Star Label does for appliances, this label will hold all household cleaning products to the same standard of environmental impact.

So far, the USDA has approved more than 5,000 products to bear the label, a full list of which is available on the agency's website. The number of products is expected to grow as more companies apply.

Customers walking through the household cleaner aisle of their favorite grocery store are likely to see a number of products that claim to be the best for the environment. It is difficult to determine which is actually best, because there are many competing certifications and standards.

In addition to the seal, products will be labeled with a percentage detailing how much of the product is made from corn, soy or other renewable sources.