Due to an increase in incidents involving lithium batteries and other hazardous material, the USPS is limiting how shippers can send such items and is requiring new labeling. It cited urgency of the danger to personnel, property, passengers, and the public and said it was implementing the requirements immediately.
“The interim final rule restricts the mail class that may be utilized when shipping pre-owned, damaged or defective electronic devices containing or packaged with lithium batteries (such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, power tools, etc.) to USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service or Ground Return Service, and requires new marking requirements for these mailings.” (In other words, items are limited to services that go by surface, not air.)
The Postal Service further explained:
“Mailings covered by the new requirements include used items sent pursuant to e-commerce or private sales transactions; lost items being returned to the owner; and items sent for repair, replacement, upgrade, warranty service, diagnostics, recycling, or insurance claims. For clarity, pre-owned electronic devices exclude those that are in new, unopened manufacturer packaging.”
The USPS also noted:
“To Ensure adequate visibility, the Postal Service will require that packages containing pre-owned, damaged, and defective electronic devices containing or packaged with lithium batteries be marked “Restricted Electronic Device” and “Surface Transportation Only,” in addition to any other applicable markings.”
In addition, there are new requirements for the separation of hazardous materials.
The new interim rule takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register on June 6, 2022. There will be a 30-day period for public comment, and a further final rule will be published that considers any comments.