Implementation Resources for Spent Lead-Acid Battery Exporters
The new requirements for exporters who wish to ship spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs) to other countries for recycling or recovery depend in part on the desired destination country. Such shipments are subject to the US requirements for exports, the regulations for imports in the destination country, and whatever international waste agreement is most relevant to the waste and countries concerned.
The Basel Convention is a multilateral international agreement governing all transboundary movements of hazardous waste for recovery or disposal. There are 172 countries that are parties to the Basel Convention, but the US is not a party. SLABs are listed as hazardous waste A1160 (waste lead-acid batteries, whole or crushed) in Annex VIII of the Basel Convention. Article 4, Paragraph 5 of the Basel Convention generally prohibits Parties from permitting the import of hazardous wastes from a non-Party like the United States unless the countries concerned participate in a separate international agreement, also known as an “Article 11 agreement,” that provides a level of environmentally sound management equivalent to that of the Basel Convention requirements. Exports of SLABs for recovery to any non-OECD country that is a Basel Party are subject to either this agreement or an Article 11 agreement.
- Exporters should understand that the United States currently does not have a bilateral waste agreement with any non-OECD country that would enable the shipment of Basel hazardous wastes between a Basel non-Party and a Basel Party under Article 11 of the Convention.
- Prior to submitting any export notification to U.S. EPA, you should contact the competent authority for any non-OECD Basel Party to determine whether or not they consider SLABs to be Basel hazardous waste and whether or not they could legally accept shipments of SLABs for recovery from a Basel non-Party like the United States.
The OECD waste agreement is a multilateral international agreement governing the smaller subset of transboundary movements of hazardous waste between the 30 OECD Member countries for recovery only. The US is a Member of the OECD and a party to this agreement. The United States is also party to bilateral waste agreements with Canada and Mexico. The OECD agreement and our agreements with Canada and Mexico qualify as Article 11 agreements under the Basel Convention. Exports of SLABs for recovery to Canada or Mexico are covered and allowable under our agreements with these countries. Exports of SLABs for recovery to the other 28 OECD Member countries are covered and allowable under the OECD agreement. RCRA export requirements in 40 CFR part 262 subparts E and H reflect provisions within those agreements.
- flowchart for subpart E exports (PDF) (1 pg, 32K, About PDF)
- subpart E notice checklist (PDF) (5 pp, 28K, About PDF)
- flowchart for subpart H exports (PDF) (1 pg, 38K, About PDF)
- subpart H notice checklist (PDF) (9 pp, 62K, About PDF)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been informed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that export shipments of intact, spent lead acid batteries (SLABs) being shipped for recovery of lead should only be identified as Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) Classification Commodity Code No. 8548.10.0540 (“Lead-Acid Storage Batteries of a Kind Used for Starting Engines, for the Recovery of Lead”). Labeling SLAB export shipments as 7802.00.0030 (“Lead Waste and Scrap Obtained from Lead-Acid Storage Batteries”) or as 7802.00.0060 (“Lead Waste and Scrap other than Obtained from Lead-Acid Storage Batteries”) is not correct and is not acceptable.
We are informing SLAB exporters of this issue because we have received SLAB export notices destined for an OECD Member country that used the OECD notification document and listed “7802.00.0030” in Block 14, Item (xii) (“Customs code(s) (HS)”). Based on the information from CBP, EPA will reject notices proposing export of intact, wet or dry spent lead acid batteries that choose to list any customs code other than the correct “8548.10.0540.” Identifying the customs code for the material to be exported is not a required notice element in either 40 CFR Part 262 Subpart E or 40 CFR Part 262 Subpart H, although this information may be required by the importing country. If we receive a notice listing an incorrect customs code, we will inform the exporter that the notice must be corrected and re-submitted before we will forward the notice to the listed countries of import and transit for review.