The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative (SBC) provides purchasing specifications for buyers of compostable food service ware. These specifications were designed to find products that are sustainable from cradle-to-cradle, including biomass production, manufacturing, and recovery. The specifications require that products meet certain standards and hold certain certifications of products to prevent purchasers from buying “greenwashed” items, which fail to meet environmental, worker protection, and consumer standards.

Compostable Biobased Food Service Ware

The SBC – in partnership with the Responsible Purchasing Network – has prepared purchasing specifications for compostable biobased food service ware based on the BioSpecs for Food Service Ware. These specifications have two parts – a mandatory set of criteria that products must meet to qualify to bid and a set of desirable criteria for which products receive points.

Purchasers should consider performance testing products to ensure products meet specific needs, especially given that products are changing rapidly and continuously improving.  There is also a wide range of product types of varying quality.

Download the sample purchasing specs and accompanying bid evaluation sheets.

We are inviting companies to pilot the purchasing specifications. If you are interested, contact the SBC Coordinator at

Summary of BioSpecs Use as of April 2013

The three case studies presented below illustrate examples of how the BioSpecs have been used by government agencies and nonprofit organizations to move the market toward environmentally preferable food service ware products.