Department of Defense officials are getting a first-hand look at the role biobased products can play in increasing domestic security. DOD hosted an even Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pentagon pushing increased government procurement of eco-friendly products and further policy and education of the benefits of biobased products.
The showcase, titled "Bio-based Products - Enhancing DOD's Mission, Protecting the Environment," features 37 companies from around the country demonstrating a variety of environmentally-friendly products used regularly by the DOD, including building materials, insulation, industrial lubricants, degreasers, cleaning products, cafeteria serviceware and clothing products.
Speakers included Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who coauthored the biobased provisions in the 2002 farm bill. The program also included panel discussions where participants received information on how these products can help meet the department's environmental goals and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
"We have passed the stage of envisioning the bioeconomy. The businesses here today are building it. They are proving that we can 'buy bio' - and that is a winning formula for our country," Harkin says.
In the 2002 Farm Bill, a provision requires federal agencies purchase biobased products specified by the USDA, as long as those products are reasonable in price, performance and availability. To date, hundreds of products have been listed.