General Information About Bioproducts

1.) What is a biobased product?
Biobased is the application of plant-derived resources as an alternative to non-renewable matter. This sustainable approach considers the entire product life cycle from its agricultural origin to its overall renewability. Biobased innovation in the production and content of commonly used items assures consumers of improved environmental well-being without compromising product performance.

2.) What are some common bioproducts?
Bioproducts are as diverse as any conventionally-produced product. Below is a short list of items that can be biobased:

  • Household cleaners

  • Paints and stains

  • Personal care items

  • Plastic bottles & containers
  • Packaging materials
  • Office supplies
  • Soaps & detergents
  • Lubricants
  • Clothing
  • Plates, napkins, cutlery
  • Building materials

3.) So what is the difference between a bioproduct and a conventional product?
The biggest difference can be found in the definition above. Bioproducts look at the entire product life cycle, and are made from plant-derived resources. Petroleum based products are made from non-renewable resources, and do not focus on their life cycle post-consumer use.  

4.) What specific plant-derived resources are bioproducts made from?
The most well-known plant resources tend to be soybeans and corn; however, bioproducts are not limited to just those plant resources. Below is a brief list of plant resources that can be used in the creation of bioproducts:

  • Sunflowers
  • Canola
  • Miscanthus
  • Mycelium (vegetative part of fungus)
  • Switchgrass
  • Algae
  • Forest-derived materials
  • Sugarcane
  • Flax
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat

5.) If bioproducts are made from food plants like corn and wheat, won’t that affect the food supply?
In almost all cases the answer is no. Many bioproducts are made from agriculture, forestry, and biological waste. An example of an agricultural waste that can be used in producing bioproducts is wheat straw. After wheat is harvested and the grain and chaff are removed, there is a straw that is left over. While wheat straw can be used for animal bedding or even making baskets, it also has the potential to be used in creating composite lumber or as a biofuel.

6.) If an item is a bioproduct, does that mean it is biodegradable?
Not necessarily. While some bioproducts are biodegradable others are not, it depends on product’s purpose. For example, if you used a biobased paint on the exterior of your house, you would not want it to be biodegradable. To determine if a product is biodegradable, always start by checking the label of the product in question. If you are still unable to locate information about biodegradability, visit the company’s website or call their customer service department.

7.) Why should I choose to purchase bioproducts?
Any purchasing decision is a personal decision. Our goal is to help educate consumers about biobased alternatives so that they are better informed about all of their purchasing options.


Still have questions? Feel free to contact us at bioproducts@osu.edu