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Interpretation Response #18-0119

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Cascade Asset Management, LLC

Individual Name: John Sorrel Weakland

Location State: WI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 13, 2019

John Sorrel Weakland
EH&S Compliance Coordinator
Cascade Asset Management, LLC
6701 Manufacturers Drive
Madison, WI  53704

Reference No. 18-0119

Dear Mr. Weakland:

This letter is in response to your August 20, 2018, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to shipments of used nickel cadmium and lithium ion batteries for recycling.  You explain that your company disassembles electronic devices and ships the used nickel-cadmium and lithium ion batteries to recycling centers via highway transportation only.  Additionally, you state that certain battery recycling companies have instructed you to use the Class 8 (Corrosive) label for packages of spent dry nickel-cadmium batteries and the Class 9 (Miscellaneous) label for packages of used lithium ion batteries.  You provide photographs of the requested package configurations.

Specifically, you ask several questions about the labeling and training requirements for these battery shipments.  We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask if shipments meeting the exceptions in § 172.102(c) Special Provision 130(d) for spent dry batteries and § 173.185(d) for used lithium ion batteries require hazard class labels.
 
A1. Shipments of used or spent dry batteries meeting the conditions of § 172.102(c), Special Provision 130(d) are not subject to any other requirement of the HMR, to include labeling requirements.  Special Provision 130(d) does not permit batteries having different chemistries, e.g. lithium ion and/or dry batteries with a marked rating of greater than 9 volts, to be combined with used or spent batteries in the same package.

 Please note the description “UN3028, Batteries, dry, containing potassium hydroxide solid” is not appropriate for nickel-cadmium batteries.  This entry should be used only to describe non activated batteries that contain dry potassium hydroxide and that are intended to be activated prior to use by the addition of an appropriate amount of water to the individual cells.  This proper shipping name does not apply to common household batteries, such as nickel-cadmium, which are most appropriately described as “Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s.”

Shipments of lithium cells or batteries transported by motor vehicle for purposes of recycling in accordance with § 173.185(d) are excepted from the testing and record keeping requirements of § 173.185(a) and the specification packaging requirements of § 173.185(b)(3) when packed in a strong outer packaging conforming to the requirements of §§ 173.24 and 173.24a.  A lithium cell or battery shipment that meets the size, packaging, and hazard communication requirements in § 173.185(c)(1)–(3) is excepted from the requirements in Subparts C through H of Part 172, which includes labeling requirements.  Such packages must display the lithium battery mark required by § 173.185(c)(3).  A lithium cell or battery shipment that does not meet the requirements in § 173.185(c)(1)–(3) must be labeled with the appropriate hazard class and meet the requirements in Subparts C through H of Part 172.
 
Q2. Provided the shipments in Question Q1 do not require hazard class labels, you ask if permissive labeling of Class 8 for nickel-cadmium batteries and Class 9 for lithium ion batteries would be permitted in accordance with Special Provision 130(d) and § 173.185(d).
 
A2. You may permissively label the package so long as it contains the material and presents the hazard described.  However, as noted in Answer A1, nickel-cadmium batteries are most appropriately described as “Batteries, dry, sealed, n.o.s.” and do not meet the definition of a Class 8 material.  Therefore, it would be incorrect to use the Class 8 label for shipments of nickel-cadmium batteries.
 
Q3. Provided the hazard class labels in Question Q2 are permitted but unnecessary, you ask if it is appropriate for a carrier to require the additional labels.
 
A3. While the HMR do not prohibit permissive labeling of these shipments, this Office does not recommend partial use of either exception, as it can create confusion in the enforcement or emergency response community that may result in issuance of a ticket and frustration of your shipment.

Q4. You ask if there are training requirements for staff who package used nickel-cadmium and lithium ion batteries that qualify for the exceptions in Special Provision 130(d) and § 173.185(d).

A4. Hazardous materials training is not required for staff packaging shipments that meet the exceptions in Special Provision 130(d) for spent dry batteries.  Lithium cells or batteries that meet the size, packaging, and hazard communication requirements in paragraph (c)(1)–(3) and § 173.185(d) for used lithium ion batteries shipped for recycling are excepted from the training requirements in Subpart H.  See Answer A1.
 
I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.102(c), 173.185(d), 173.185(a), 173.185(b)(3), 173.24, 173.24a

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.102 Special provisions
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries
173.24 General requirements for packagings and packages