The Application of Carbon-14 Testing in the Biobased Industries
Due to environmental and sustainability concerns, biobased materials play a key role in the formulation of packaging, cosmetics, and household cleaning products. As these sectors transition away from the use of petrochemical-derived material in favor of biobased (biomass-based) ingredients, manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors rely on carbon-14 analysis to receive precise results on biobased carbon during the R&D phases of product development and to validate biobased claims. Carbon-14 testing differentiates between biobased and petroleum-based sources, validating the percentage of biobased content in a product’s ingredients. The analysis is performed using an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) instrument according to standardized methods such as ASTM D6866, ISO 16620 and EN 16640. Biobased testing also allows manufacturers and distributors to visibly display the use of biobased ingredients through certifications and eco-labels, several of which require carbon-14 testing for biobased content such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Program's voluntary labeling initiative for biobased products.