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Shipping Hazardous Materials on Pirate Ship
Shipping Hazardous Materials on Pirate Ship

Here's what you need to know when shipping hazmat items on Pirate Ship

Updated over a week ago

Items like cell phones, nail polish, perfume, and hair spray are considered hazardous materials and require special shipping procedures.

Some of the most common hazardous materials are:

  • Aerosols, like hair spray

  • Cleaning agents and solvents

  • Cigarette lighter fluid

  • Compressed oxygen

  • Fuels

  • Lithium-ion batteries

  • Inks

  • Matches

  • Nail polish

  • Paint

  • Perfumes/colognes

  • Pre-owned or damaged electronics with lithium-ion batteries

Packaging Requirements for Sending Hazardous Materials

Whether you're shipping with UPS or USPS, sending hazardous materials requires you to follow certain regulations. Here's what you need to know:

  • Outer Packaging: According to rules from both carriers, hazardous items must be shipped in a sturdy, corrugated cardboard box capable of firmly and securely holding the primary receptacle.

    • DO NOT use envelopes or poly mailers when sending hazardous materials!

  • Cushioning Material: On top of using a cardboard box, you'll also need to pack your item with enough cushioning material, like bubble wrap, foam sheets, air pillows, and more.

Shipping Hazardous Materials with USPS®

Before buying a USPS label for your hazardous material shipment, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Reference the USPS Postal Explorer: When shipping a package with USPS that contains any hazardous, dangerous, or restricted items, it's your responsibility to comply with all the USPS rules around Hazardous Materials (Publication 52 in the USPS Postal Explorer).

    • Liability: You are liable for any failure to follow the rules or packaging instructions. 

  • Service Restrictions: For common, less-hazardous items like perfume or hand sanitizer, you're not allowed to use air-based services like Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

How to ship hazardous materials with USPS

To ship hazardous materials with USPS, here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox below the Extra Services menu when creating your label, as we've highlighted in this image:

  • Choose Ground Advantage as your service

  • Place a "limited quantity" sticker on the label side of your package. You can buy them here

Double-check that you've selected the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox

It's crucial that you select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating USPS labels for these shipments 😉

  • Why You Need to Select the Checkbox: Selecting this checkbox sends information to USPS through your label barcode to ensure that your label is in compliance with transportation regulations.

  • Fees for Noncompliance: If USPS determines that your label isn't in compliance, you will incur an additional fee of $0.25.

Rules for shipping electronic devices containing lithium-ion batteries

  • Brand-New Electronics: Brand-new electronics or certified new/refurbished electronics with unopened manufacturer’s packaging that contain lithium-ion batteries can be shipped via any USPS service 👍

    • Do Not Select the Hazardous Materials Checkbox: If you're sending brand-new electronics with unopened manufacturer's packaging, do not select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label.

  • Used or Damaged Electronics: On the other hand, if you’re shipping a used, damaged, or defective electronic device with a lithium-ion battery (such as a phone, tablet, laptop, camera, power tool, etc.), you’ll need to follow these guidelines:

    • Select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label.

    • You may only use the Ground Advantage shipping service, as electronics with used or damaged lithium-ion batteries cannot be transported via air.

    • If you’re shipping multiple items, separate the lithium-ion batteries or electronics containing lithium-ion batteries into a different package.

    • Label the package with: “Restricted Electronic Device – Surface Transportation Only.”

  • Be Aware of Destination Restrictions: Shipments containing pre-owned or damaged electronic devices containing lithium-ion batteries cannot be sent to the following destinations:

    • International locations

    • U.S. Military Addresses

    • Certain parts of the United States where USPS doesn’t have ground transportation available

Prohibited items with USPS

There are some items you’re not able to ship with USPS at all, no matter what. Find out if USPS prohibits the shipment of your items.

Prohibited ZIP codes in Alaska

Some parts of Alaska are only serviced by air transportation, which means no ground transportation is available for sending hazardous materials.

  • Alaskan ZIP Codes Unable to Send or Receive Hazardous Materials: Since ground transportation isn't available, USPS doesn't allow customers to send hazardous shipments to or from the following Alaskan ZIP codes:

    • 99545, 99546, 99547, 99548, 99549, 99550, 99551, 99552, 99553, 99554, 99555, 99557, 99558, 99559, 99561, 99563, 99564, 99565, 99569, 99571, 99574, 99575, 99576, 99578, 99579, 99580, 99581, 99583, 99585, 99589, 99590, 99591, 99602, 99604, 99606, 99607, 99608, 99609, 99612, 99613, 99614, 99615, 99619, 99620, 99621, 99622, 99624, 99625, 99626, 99627, 99628, 99630, 99632, 99633, 99634, 99636, 99637, 99638, 99640, 99641, 99643, 99644, 99647, 99648, 99649, 99650, 99651, 99653, 99655, 99656, 99657, 99658, 99659, 99660, 99661, 99662, 99663, 99665, 99666, 99667, 99668, 99670, 99671, 99675, 99677, 99678, 99679, 99680, 99681, 99682, 99684, 99685, 99689, 99690, 99691, 99692, 99695, 99697, 99720, 99721, 99722, 99723, 99724, 99726, 99727, 99730, 99732, 99733, 99734, 99736, 99738, 99739, 99740, 99741, 99742, 99745, 99746, 99747, 99748, 99749, 99750, 99751, 99752, 99753, 99754, 99756, 99757, 99758, 99759, 99761, 99762, 99763, 99765, 99766, 99767, 99768, 99769, 99770, 99771, 99772, 99773, 99774, 99777, 99778, 99781, 99782, 99783, 99784, 99785, 99786, 99788, 99789, 99790, 99791, 99801, 99802, 99803, 99811, 99812, 99820, 99821, 99824, 99825, 99826, 99827, 99829, 99830, 99832, 99833, 99835, 99836, 99840, 99841, 99850, 99901, 99903, 99918, 99919, 99921, 99922, 99923, 99925, 99926, 99927, 99928, 99929, 99950

Shipping Hazardous Materials with UPS®

Unfortunately, UPS doesn't allow for hazmat shipments on Pirate Ship. So, you'll need to use USPS Ground Advantage if you're shipping any items that contain hazardous materials!

The only exception is unopened packages with lithium-ion batteries

The one exception to the rule is that you can use UPS to send brand-new, unopened packaging containing lithium-ion batteries.

  • Using UPS to Ship Lithium-Ion Batteries: You can ship lithium-ion batteries contained in the device they power (such as cell phones) with any UPS service without prior permission from UPS, as long as:

    • a) the package contains no more than 4 cells or 2 batteries

    • b) the consignment contains no more than two packages of lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment

    • c) the item that the lithium-ion batteries power is new and unopened

  • UPS Shipments That Meet These Requirements: If your UPS shipment meets these requirements, do not select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox when creating your label, and choose the service you wish to use after clicking the Get Rates button.

  • UPS Shipments That Don't Meet These Requirements: If your shipment does not meet the above requirements, select the "Hazardous Materials" checkbox and choose USPS Ground Advantage service.

For more information, see this UPS resource on packing and shipping batteries.

Hazardous materials cannot be sent internationally on Pirate Ship

You can't create any labels for international shipments containing hazardous materials on Pirate Ship.

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