Consumer Products Containing Lithium-Ion Batteries
This data is pulled from over 40k consumer products sold today in the US at the top retailers and big box stores. Product vendors are required to register all products with SmarterX before they can hit store shelves - so that the retailer knows how to safely store, ship and dispose of it. SmarterX identifies and analyzes the detailed chemical makeup of all components of consumer products, and has APIs that cross-check these ingredient details against all state and local regulations - as well as retailer-specific rules.
While outdoor recreation equipment is the largest concern right now for consumer safety and regulatory changes, countless other product categories contain lithium-ion batteries and could be impacted. It’s also critical that consumers and retailers understand what types of products contain these batteries - so they can handle them safely (for both people and the environment). In fact, home appliances account for over 10% of all products containing these batteries - and kids toys & games also represent nearly 3%.
The do's and dont's of selling TVs, computers, printers and other electronics
The do's and don'ts of selling TVs, computers, printers and other electronics
What are the state-level rules for compliantly selling consumer electronics?
As the consumption of consumer electronics increases and the obligations to handle electronics in a safe and sustainable way becomes more and more important, it’s essential that retailers and manufacturers know their obligations and understand the proactive ways they can be good corporate citizens.
Here are three questions electronics retailers and manufacturers should seek to answer:
1. What are the state-level regulations that apply to Covered Electronic Devices (CED) today?
2. How does the price of a TV affect which regulations apply?
3. Which states have obscure rules for CEDs?
Failing to comply with selling requirements could result in being placed on a “Do Not Sell” list and the issuance of fines.
Demand for consumer electronics is going up and up and so are the risks if retailers make mistakes with selling, shipping, returns, recycling, and donations?
US sales of electronic devices are staggering. In 2021, we spent a whopping $442 billion. That’s $1,440 for every person. Over the next five years, the industry expects a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% globally.
While demand for electronic devices increases, retailers and manufacturers are also under pressure to deliver products as efficiently and sustainably as possible. There are many hurdles to overcome - most notably, regulatory hurdles. Every phase of the consumer electronic supply chain is regulated, from equipment manufacture, to transportation, to selling in the store, to how the product must be disposed of when no longer needed.
The early 2000s yielded a flurry of electronic device legislation in the United States. But regulations haven’t kept up with product innovation. This has left manufacturers, retailers and handlers of electronic devices struggling to interpret older regulations and apply them to new products hitting the market.
For example, there are no federal regulations for how TVs, computers, monitors, computer peripherals, and printers should be sold, handled and disposed of. That said, half of US states have implemented their own regulations for electronics covering these devices, known formally as “Covered Electronic Devices (CEDs)”.
It’s imperative for manufacturers and retailers to understand state requirements, and each state’s requirements differ slightly. For example, in South Carolina, TVs that are sold for less than $100 are exempt from the CED requirements. While in Pennsylvania, manufacturers who only make computer peripherals (and no other device type) are exempt from requirements. Companies have needed to stay on top of regulations, including local nuances, to avoid being fined for shipping or disposing of products in the wrong way.
This is where Smarter Sorting comes to the rescue. We know the rules. We also know the individual makeup of millions of consumer products. We can accurately identify the right product classification, instantly.
In our State-level Requirements for Selling Covered Electronic Devices white paper, we examine all applicable requirements for selling CEDs and break down how manufacturers and retailers can confidently navigate the complex regulatory environment in order to get products to consumers, quickly and efficiently.
UN 38.3 TSD requirements for battery manufacturer and retailer
If you manufacture, sell, or transport lithium ion batteries, you’ve been thinking a lot about the UN 38.3 testing requirements over the last year.
As a part of this continued push towards greater consumer safety and transparency, the EPA published a proposed rule, 83 Fed. Reg. 60970, requiring Test Summary Documentation (TSD) be provided by manufacturers of lithium batteries under the guidelines of UN 38.3.
These tests ensure the safety of those batteries and the products that they’re shipped in under all forms of transport: air, rail, water, and ground. With these tests conducted and properly documented, manufacturers, transporters, retailers, and consumers can all rest assured that your cell phone battery will not explode the next time you fly off for vacation.
Here are the most important things to know.
Who should have TSD on file?
According to § 173.185(a)(3),
“Each manufacturer and subsequent distributor of lithium cells or batteries manufactured after June 30, 2003, must make available upon request at reasonable times and locations, a test summary.”
Any individual or entity in the supply chain may request the test summary (i.e. regulator, consumer, or transport provider). The Test Summary Documentation must be provided in a reasonable timeline. For this to work in accordance with the intent of the law and to best satisfy increasing consumer demand for transparency, all stakeholders in the supply chain should have quick access to the UN 38.3 Test Summary Documentation for a given product.
What Requires UN 38.3 TSD?
According to § 173.185,
“…lithium cell(s) or battery(ies) includes both lithium metal and lithium ion chemistries”.
This means that any lithium cell, lithium battery, or product containing a lithium cell or battery, requires TSD. The distinction between cells and batteries means that your battery product may in fact require two different test reports: one for the cell; and one for the completed battery. They are not the same and are not interchangeable. Single cell batteries (e.g., AA, AAA, CR2032 button cells) will have a text report for the cell and it may be used for the battery as it is a single cell. However, multiple cell batteries may have different wirings (series, parallel or both) and the electrical properties are different. Therefore, each new battery configuration will require a different test report.
When is testing required?
According to § 173.185(a)(2),
“Each person who manufactures lithium cells or batteries must create a record of satisfactory completion of the testing (e.g. test report) required by this paragraph prior to offering the lithium cell or battery for transport.”
Prior to offering a lithium cell or battery for transport, the UN 38.3 test must be performed. Testing guidelines can be found (beginning on page 424) if you plan to do this testing in-house. Otherwise, Eurofins or Intertek are two examples of testing labs that could perform these tests. Contact these providers for pricing inquiries, but prices generally range upwards of $10,000 per test. The upside of this approach is that third party labs’ results will have more credence than in-house results.
For answers to more detailed questions and example test summaries, see this pdf from the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.