USDA: 2 national labs win BioPreferred Program procurement awards

By USDA | November 21, 2018

The USDA recently announced that two U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories have received USDA’s Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards for Fiscal Year 2018 for testing and adopting biobased products within their operations. The laboratories receiving the awards are the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Lawrence, California. 

“The Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards initiative recognizes outstanding achievements in advancing the objectives of the BioPreferred Federal Purchasing Preference Program. Congratulations to both laboratories for achieving cost savings and reducing their environmental impact by converting to biobased products,” said Vernell Thompson of USDA’s BioPreferred Program. 

LLNL's food services program converted all food service ware to biobased and compostable products, adopting biobased hot cups, cold cups, cutlery, lids, straws, takeout containers, napkins, soup cups, small sides/condiment containers, and to-go bags. The use of biobased compostable products contributed to LLNL's site-wide collection of 68 metric tons of compostable waste in 2017 for reuse and recycling instead of being directed to a landfill.  

LANL's welding shop recently replaced traditional oil-based lubricants with a biobased lubricant used on metal-cutting machinery. The oil-based lubricants used during fabrication required large amounts of oil, resulting in overspray to workers, equipment, and the general work area. The biobased product that was adopted requires a much smaller amount to perform the same function. The switch to a biobased lubricants resulted in safer work areas by reducing the potential for slips and falls. The biobased alternative has also reduced the number of labor hours to complete the welding operation and reduced waste disposal costs.  

USDA’s BioPreferred Program, created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, promotes U.S. economic development, creates new manufacturing jobs and provides new markets for farm commodities. For 2018, the Awards program was expanded to a federal-wide biobased product purchasing recognition program. Recognition categories include federal acquisition professionals, federal program/technical professionals and federal contractors. The Excellence in BioPreferred Procurement Awards are determined annually by USDA based on significant contributions to the BioPreferred Program goals.