The Bioeconomy Coalition supports efforts to create a healthy, vibrant market for renewable chemicals and biobased products in order to enhance their benefits for consumers and the environment.
END OF LIFE
An innovative renewable chemicals industry will produce novel types of plastics. Many of them will be biodegradable or recycleable. Minnesota’s recycling industry is not set up to adequately sort plastics, and thus many types of plastics end up in landfills.
To fully capture the environmental benefits of bioplastics, the Coalition supports an effort to improve plastics recycling in the state. This will involve doing more advanced plastics sorting. That way, biodegradable plastics are more likely to be composted, and recycleable plastics won’t end up in the landfill. This will also increase recycling of petroleum recycling.
Tackling end-of-life issues is part of creating a robust market for the renewable chemicals industry in Minnesota.
BIOBASED PRODUCT PROCUREMENT
The state government of Minnesota has the power to make homegrown bioproducts a top priority. A preferential purchasing program would allow officials throughout Minnesota’s state government to procure domestically produced bioproducts rather than products made from fossil materials or imported from other countries. A strong procurement system will help bolster Minnesota’s growing bioproducts industry and boost the state economy.
The United States Department of Agriculture administers the BioPreferred program. This program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded in the 2008 Farm Bill. The intent of the program is to increase federal government purchases of biobased products. Biobased products are made up entirely or partially of biobased content. USDA has established product categories that include a variety of biobased products. Federal agencies are required to give preference to bioproducts when making decisions about federal purchases. This established program at the Federal level can provide guidance to state governments who are also interested increasing purchasing rates of biobased products.
In 2008 Minnesota participated in a regional process aimed at increasing state government purchases of bioproducts. This effort brought together government procurement officials from eight Midwestern states. The final report from this process indicates that although Minnesota statute or policy does not specifically outline a biobased preference, procurement officials do have the ability increase purchasing levels of biobased products without new enabling legislation. Further, the final report from the process produced a set of model guidelines for participating states to increase biobased procurement.
Although a model framework exists and Minnesota did participate in a regional process to increase state purchases of biobased products, it is unclear if Minnesota has made any progress in this area. The Minnesota Department of Administration, which has responsibility for state product purchases, has not offered public information on efforts to date to increase procurement of biobased products.
The Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota supports a more robust effort by Minnesota state government agencies to preferentially procure biobased products, and publicly report on progress.