'Recycled' Replaces EX-number when Shipping Used Air Bags
By Trish Thiel

Shipping air bags modules and seat belt pretensioners just got a little easier for automotive recyclers. Instead of using a special EX-number exemption that was created for the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), a new ruling allows the word "recycled" to be placed on shipping documents. This is for all automotive recyclers.

The ruling came in the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49CFR173.166 (d)(3). The ruling states that "After May 15, 2001, when offered for domestic transportation by highway, rail freight, cargo vessel or cargo aircraft only, a serviceable air bag module or seat belt pretensioner that has been removed from a motor vehicle and manufactured as required for use in the U.S., the word 'Recycled" must be entered on the shipping paper immediately after the basic description. The use of (parentheses) for the word "(Recycled)" is optional.

Two years ago, shippers like UPS, Federal Express and Airborne, improved their enforcement of making sure all materials that are considered hazardous are properly marked for shipment. Air bags and seat belt pretensioners fell into this category because they contain a very small amount of explosive that is used when deployed. The same regulations apply to shipments within a state as well as out of state.

Air bags and pretensioners fall into what is called Class 9 HazMat and automotive recyclers must properly package, label and complete shipping documents to ship these items. On these items the EX-number is hidden, and exposing the number would make the airbag unusable. The EX-number allows the product to be traced back to the manufacturer. The ARA and the Department of Transportation had worked out a special EX-number that could be used by ARA members to ship air bags. This update in the regulation supercedes this number and the special EX-number is no longer necessary.

A common hazardous materials/ danger goods shipping paper should have the following listed and it would be acceptable: "Air bag modules, 9, UN3268, III (Recycled), 5 lbs.," or "Air bag modules pyrotechnics, 9, UN3268, PG III, Recycled, 5 Pounds."

This change has already taken affect. According to the ARA, automotive recyc-ling employees will no longer be requir-ed to enclose ARA's EX-Number exemp-tion paperwork with each air bag module shipment. The ARA does recommend that recyclers contact their shipping company representative to make necessary changes on their pre-printed hazardous material shipping labels. Training is required to be able to package, label and ship Class 9 hazardous materials. Business owners can train themselves and their employees.

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