USDA Approves Green, Bio-Based Product Label American's addiction to oil doesn't stop at the gas pump. A huge array of products -- including plastic utensils and trash bags -- are made of petroleum. Later this year, a law requires the government to start buying alternative products made of soybeans, corn and other natural ingredients.

USDA Approves Green, Bio-Based Product Label

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Now, the government is pushing nonpetroleum alternatives, as NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan says people will start seeing the logo this spring.

MONTAGNE: Consumers want to know, with the plethora of labeling claims in the marketplace, that what they're investing their dollars in is meaningful; that it's backed by some sort of certification.

SHOGREN: Companies already have introduced thousands of products made from plants or animals instead of petroleum. That's because of a law that requires the federal government to buy such products - if they exist and are affordable.

MONTAGNE: We probably would not see the growth of these products without this program.

SHOGREN: Stephen Censky is the executive director of the American Soybean Association. His group pushed Congress to require the switch.

MONTAGNE: That helps drive demand, and then it scales up manufacturing so then it can be available to the general public.

SHOGREN: Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.

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