WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred® Program commissioned a report on the impact of bio-based products in the United States, titled An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry: 2018 Update. The report demonstrates the many ways that BioPreferred partners and others are contributing to job gains and economic growth nationwide.

Topline findings include that bio-based products contributed $459 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a 17% increase from 2014. The study also found that the bio-based products sector impacts every state in the nation and is not just confined to states where agriculture is the main industry. The study reports that strong bio-products sector growth led to a total of 4.65 million jobs in 2016, an increase of more than 10% in two years. This includes the 1.68 million people directly employed within the industry plus 2.98 million employed in jobs supported by the industry. According to the report, the growing bio-economy also leads to environmental benefits, which include reducing the use of fossil fuels and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report shows potential reductions of GHG emissions of 60%, with analyses indicating that up to 12 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents may have been reduced in 2016.

Through case studies, the report also illustrates key trends, such as the following.

Trash-to-Treasure: Previously unused raw materials, once considered trash, are finding new life in a wide range of products.

Partnerships: Companies like Ford, BASF and Carolina Nonwovens are strengthening their value chain with like-minded partnerships.

Win-Win Innovation: Goodyear Tires and others support win-win innovation and product ideas that are good for the planet, good for consumers and good for companies.

Consumer Demands Are Key: Companies are finding ways to meet rising consumer demand for planet-friendly products. Among the seven bio-based product sectors, bio-based plastics is one where new technologies and changes will be most recognizable by consumers.

To download a full copy of the report, go to the USDA BioPreferred Program website at https://www.biopreferred.gov/.