Lithium-ion batteries are hazardous, which means shipping and handling them is risky. These batteries, which can power both large and small elements, are known to pose fire risks. As a result, rules and regulations exist regarding their initial and return shipping. This includes transporting, recycling, and disposal of end-of-life batteries and devices that operate by them. Rules for handling lithium-ion batteries are always changing and continue to be an obstacle in the industry. Below are some fundamentals on how to ship lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are separated into two categories: those that ship fully regulated and those that do not. Batteries with less than 100 Wh and those not damaged, defective, or recalled are shipped as non-fully controlled shipments by ocean and ground. Batteries with less than 300 Wh, can be shipped non-fully regulated but only by ground, and certain requirements must be met. The U.S. Code for Federal Regulation, Title 49, Part 173.185, requires individuals handling these batteries to be 49 CFR certified, receive proper training, packaging, labeling, and a particular shipping procedure in place. Batteries with a watt hour greater than 300 Wh are perceived as fully regulated Class 9 shipment and need to be shipped that way.
Below are examples of the rules related to shipping a damaged, defective, or recalled lithium-ion battery:
- Each battery must be arranged in a separate non-metallic inner packaging that fully encompasses the battery.
- The inner packaging needs to be bordered by materials that aren’t fragile or flammable.
- Each inner packaging needs to be arranged separately in an outer packaging that’s metal, plastic, or wooden.
- It’s important to verify that your carrier will accept your shipment since, ultimately, it’s up to the carrier to accept hazardous materials.
Shipping batteries to be recycled isn’t a simple task, but there are steps you can take to simplify the process.
- Invest in quality training to keep you and your staff current. Be sure the batteries are being inspected, and you are being practical about what’s being shipped.
- Be sure to use special permit packaging when shipping defective or damaged batteries. When receiving special permit packaging, to ask questions such as what was tested, how many watt-hours, the state of change during testing, and proof of testing.
- Consider next-generation packaging. These are specifically made for transporting lithium-ion batteries and can eliminate the dangerous risks these batteries are known to cause.
- Never use a box that was used previously.
The battery recycling market continues to grow, and the approach to shipping and processing lithium-ion batteries will evolve. Because of this, it’s essential to stay current on the latest shipping regulations for these everyday items.
Facilities like HOBI specialize in being a service to all end-of-life products, including the recycling of such batteries. For more information about our ITAD services call 817-814-2620, or contact HOBI at firstname.lastname@example.org.