Revised Standards for Mailing Lithium Batteries
The Postal Service is proposing to revise our mailing standards for lithium batteries. Currently, our standards limit customers and battery manufacturers from using the mail to send consumer-type lithium batteries, and prohibit the mailing of devices powered by lithium batteries when the batteries are in the device. These standards are excessively restrictive because they obstruct the mailing of commonly used consumer-type batteries that are permitted to be transported by air under Department of Transportation (DOT) and International Air Transportation Association (IATA) regulations. In addition, under our current standards, it is difficult to determine which lithium batteries meet mailing standards and which do not. Therefore, by identifying all small consumer-type lithium batteries as mailable when properly labeled and packaged, this proposal would increase the safety of the mail. Our proposed standards are based on, yet more restrictive than, DOT shipping regulations for lithium batteries.
Revised Standards for Mailing Sharps Waste and Other Regulated Medical Waste
The Postal ServiceTM is proposing to revise the mailing standards for medical waste so that medical professionals can more easily use the mail to ship waste to disposal sites. For over 15 years we have safely permitted approved vendors to use the mail for return of sharps and other regulated medical waste for disposal. Under our current standards, mail-back medical waste containers are most often used by individuals who self-inject medications to control diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. By increasing the maximum allowable weight of medical waste mail-back containers and at the same time requiring additional packaging safeguards, we intend to provide small medical offices the option of using the mail for sending medical waste for disposal. This proposal would allow medical professionals a safe, easy, and cost-effective means of disposing of sharps and other regulated medical waste.