Significance and Use
Biobased materials are considered a means to reduce the consumption of nonrenewable resources and reduce the environmental impact associated with the creation of materials and products, such as increased CO2 emissions and so forth. The U.S. Government has expressed the desire to use its buying power to promote usage of biobased materials, as evidenced in Presidential Orders 13101 and 13123 and the recently passed Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.O. 107 - 171.).
This guide provides a vendor with a standardized process to develop and compile information on the total resources consumed in creation of a product, define what fraction of the resources are biobased, and transmit the information in a clear and logical way. Carbon is the foundation of both biobased and fossil (nonrenewable) resources. Carbon also represents a large fraction of the environmental profile considerations of a product. Therefore carbon is used in this guide to combine and track energy and raw materials resources consumption involved in creation of a product.
This guide provides a way to determine and report weight fraction of biobased material in a product, or its biobased content, W(b).
This guide also provides for verification and validation of the information supplied by vendors to support their product claims.
This guide provides a way to determine the biobased and nonrenewable (fossil) resource consumption, both as raw materials and as energy, involved in creation of a product and to combine the biobased and nonrenewable resources into total resource consumption on a consistent basis.
A companion standard5 provides a test method for authentication of the origin of carbon claimed to be derived from renewable resources.
1.1 This guide covers a process to determine (1) biobased content of materials and products, (2) total resource consumption, both biobased and nonrenewable, in the form of raw materials and energy, and (3) an environmental profile, which would also include emissions and waste generated.
1.2 Reference to the use of factors to convert materials and energy to carbon equivalents are provided (1-6). In addition, the use of ISO standards to determine the material and energy inventories and an environmental profile of the products and materials is discussed. It is outside the scope of this guide to provide a detailed description of the use and application of life cycle assessment tools and conversion factors for the determination of a biobased material's environmental profile. Future ASTM International standards are being prepared to cover these subjects.
1.3 In the application of this guide, the protection of business confidential information is an important consideration. In general, the level of detail required to evaluate material and energy inputs and outputs can be reported without revealing proprietary unit process information. Unit processes can be treated as black boxes with inputs and outputs. If business confidentiality is still a concern, unit processes can be further combined or the final LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) results can be reviewed and certified by an external, independent expert with which the vendor will have the appropriate secrecy agreement.