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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #09-0225 ([Mr. Donald Sugerman])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Donald Sugerman

Location State: MI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

November 25, 2009

 

 

Mr. Donald Sugerman

2998 Geddes Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2725

Ref. No.: 09-0225

Dear Mr. Sugerman:

This responds to your letter dated September 30, 2009, regarding the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), as they apply to the transportation of alkaline dry cell batteries collected and shipped for recycling. Specifically, you ask whether alkaline dry cell batteries collected from households for recycling must be transported in accordance with the HMR.

The HMR govern the safe transportation of hazardous materials in commerce. A state agency, such as a county recycling program collecting spent batteries, or local jurisdiction that transports hazardous materials for governmental purposes using its own personnel is not engaged in transportation in commerce and, therefore, is not subject to the HMR. However, if the state agency or local jurisdiction transports hazardous materials for a commercial purpose, utilizes contract personnel to transport the materials, or offers a hazardous material for transportation to a commercial carrier, then the HMR apply.

The HMR prohibit the transportation of electrical devices that are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous quantity of heat, unless the devices are packaged in a manner that precludes such an occurrence. However, many dry batteries are excepted from regulation under the HMR when they are securely packaged and offered for transportation in a manner that prevents a dangerous evolution of heat and protects against short circuits (e.g., by taping each end of each battery, placed inside of a sealed plastic bag or packet).

On June 23, 2009, we issued a letter of interpretation to Kinsbursky Brothers (Ref. No. 09-0090). In that letter, we stated that based on the test data provided, spent 1.5 volt alkaline dry cell batteries are not subject to regulation under the HMR when transported by highway or rail because they are not likely to generate a dangerous quantity of heat nor are they likely to short circuit or create sparks when they are transported in a packaging with no other battery types or chemistries present.

After further consideration and analysis of the battery chemistries and sizes in question and based on information available to us, it is the opinion of this Office that used or spent dry, sealed batteries of both non-rechargeable and rechargeable designs, described as "Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s." in the Hazardous Materials Table in § 172.101 of the HMR and not specifically covered by another proper shipping name, with a marked rating up to 9-volt are not likely to generate a dangerous quantity of heat, short circuit, or create sparks in transportation. Therefore, used or spent batteries of the type "Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s." with a marked rating of 9-volt or less that are combined in the same package and transported by highway or rail for recycling, reconditioning, or disposal are not subject to the HMR. Note that batteries utilizing different chemistries (i.e., those battery chemistries specifically covered by another proper shipping name) as well as dry, sealed batteries with a marked rating greater than 9-volt may not be combined with used or spent batteries of the type "Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s." in the same package. Note also, that the clarification provided in this letter does not apply to batteries that have been reconditioned for reuse.

This letter supersedes the clarification(s) provided in the following letters regarding the applicability of the HMR to the transportation of used or spent dry, sealed batteries:

Ref. No. 09-0090; June 23, 2009

Ref. No. 09-0112; June 23, 2009

Ref. No. 09-0135; June 23, 2009

Ref. No. 09-0150; August 13, 2009

Ref. No. 09-0169; August 28, 2009

We welcome feedback from private citizens and the hazmat safety community on ways to improve transportation safety. Questions or concerns may be directed to the Hazardous Materials Information Center at 1-800-HMR-4922 or 1-800-467-4922. You may also access the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) website at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Betts

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

172.101

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table