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Reuse of HazMat Packaging for the Shipment of Hazardous Waste

Reuse of HazMat Packaging for the Shipment of Hazardous Waste

The reuse, reconditioning, and remanufacture of hazardous material packagings (both bulk and non-bulk) is addressed at 49 CFR 173.28 of the PHMSA/USDOT Hazardous Material Regulations.  In general packagings and receptacles (bulk and non-bulk) used more than once must be in good condition and comply with all of the requirements of the HMR for HazMat packaging; including closure devices and cushioning materials. Before reuse, each packaging must be inspected by the Shipper and may not be reused unless free from incompatible residue, rupture, or other damage which reduces its structural integrity.  Packagings not meeting the minimum thickness requirements prescribed in 49 CFR 173.28(b)(4)(i) may not be reused or reconditioned for reuse, though they may be acceptable for remanufacture.  §173.28 goes on to identify the specific requirements and restrictions for the reuse, reconditioning and remanufacture of non-bulk packagings for the transportation of hazardous materials.  §173.28(b)(6) however, contains an exception from this regulation for the reuse of a non-bulk packaging for the shipment of a hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste container

When transported, a container of hazardous waste is subject to the regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT and the USEPA.

49 CFR 173.28(b)(6) reads:

A previously used non-bulk packaging may be reused for the shipment of hazardous waste, not subject to the reconditioning and reuse provisions of this section, in accordance with §173.12(c).

Interestingly, despite the use of the term “hazardous waste” at §173.28(b)(6) the use of this exception is not limited solely to a hazardous waste as that term is defined by USEPA or PHMSA/USDOT.  In fact, §173.12(c) doesn’t use the term “hazardous waste” at all but instead refers to “waste materials”.  What this means is that any waste material, even those not required to use the uniform hazardous waste manifest, may take advantage of this exception.  This includes wastes that may be sent for reclamation, such as those subject to the conditional exclusions at 40 CFR 261.4(a) or §261.4(b).  This PHMSA letter of interpretation explains why (05-0235R)

Question:  Does 49 CFR 173.28 apply to bulk packagings?
Answer:  Except for their unstated inclusion in the general conditions of §173.28(a), “Packagings and receptacles used more than once…” the remainder of the regulation specifically addresses itself to non-bulk packagings alone.

Pursuant to 49 CFR 173.12(c), a previously used packaging reused for the shipment of a hazardous waste is not subject to the reconditioning and reuse provisions contained in §173.28 and §178, under the following conditions:

  • The hazardous waste is being transported for disposal or recovery.
  • Except for the allowances of this section [§173.12(c)], the package must meet all of the requirements of the HMR.  That means it must be a packaging authorized for the HazMat in column 8b of the Hazardous Materials Table and meet the applicable packaging specification requirements.  It must also be marked and labeled as applicable, the hazardous waste must be described on a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, the motor vehicle may require placards, and every person involved in its transportation must receive HazMat Employee training.
  • Transportation is by highway only.
  • Package may not be transported for at least 24 hours after its final closure.  I suggest you document this 24-hour time period between the closure of the packaging and its off-site transportation.  This could be accomplished by an SOP for this activity or it could be included in section 14 of the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest.
  • Package must be inspected and found to be free from leaks immediately prior to being shipped.  This activity, I also recommend, should be documented.
  • If the motor carrier is a common carrier, the package must be loaded by the Shipper (aka:  Consignor) and unloaded by the Consignee (aka: the Designated Facility identified on the uniform hazardous waste manifest).  This restriction does not apply if the motor carrier is a private or contract carrier.
  • A hazardous waste packaging may use this exception only once and may not be used again for shipment of hazardous materials (or hazardous waste) unless it complies with the requirements of §173.28 for reuse, reconditioning, or remanufacture.

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this important to a generator of hazardous waste?

HMR exception saves hazardous waste generator moneyThe significance of this exception is that a generator of hazardous waste can reuse the packaging in which it receives  hazardous materials (e.g. paint & solvents) for the off-site shipment of the hazardous waste it generates (e.g. Waste Paint Related Material); eliminating the need to purchase packagings for the off-site shipment of hazardous waste and to pay for the disposal of empty packagings.


As a generator of hazardous waste you can save money by taking advantage of this exception to the HMR


Contact me with any questions you may have about the transportation of hazardous materials

Daniels Training Services





Both the receipt/shipment of hazardous materials and the generation of hazardous waste require training:  HazMat Employee and Hazardous Waste Personnel, respectively.  Contact me for a free training consultation on just what training you require.