Update: The mentioned STC and banner changes will now go into effect on July 9, 2023, and the implementation of 2D barcodes will begin on January 21, 2024.
Beginning April 30, hazardous material (HAZMAT) labels will be updated to comply with new USPS regulations. The new labels will have an updated format, including two 2D IMpd barcodes, new Dangerous Good STCs (Service Type Codes), and new IMpd banner text above the barcode. These changes are being implemented to increase safety when shipping hazardous materials and improve the shipping process. The good news is, we have all of the information you’ll need about the upcoming changes!
What are hazardous materials?
Before we jump into the new HAZMAT labels, let’s give a quick refresher on how USPS classifies hazardous materials. USPS defines hazardous materials as “any matter having a clear potential for causing harm to the mail, persons, or property involved in moving the mail.” However, USPS also considers the following items as hazardous because they contain fuel:
- Lawn trimmers and edgers
- Small motors and engines
- Used fuel tanks (motorcycles, lawnmowers)
- Small generators
- Camp stoves
- Gas lanterns or lamps
- Model cars or aircraft
More guidelines and restrictions for shipping hazardous materials through USPS can be found on their website.
How are HAZMAT labels changing?
The first charge is HAZMAT labels will now feature two 2D IMpd™ barcodes. While the new barcodes contain the same information as the existing IMpb barcodes, the additional two barcodes will help optimize processing automation and minimize distortion, printer errors, and increase the ability for labels to be scanned. This increase in visibility will improve the shipping experience for both you and your customers.
The second change comes with the Dangerous Goods STCs. Dangerous Goods STCs are numeric codes that identify a package’s mail classification and characteristics, so shipments can be handled appropriately and efficiently as they move throughout USPS. The barcode banner text will also now read: USPS TRACKING # HAZMAT. HAZMAT shipments will still require all of the same documentation and information as they have in the past. Don’t worry, we’ll go over shipping hazardous materials through ShippingEasy later on.
Will this change impact my shipping process?
Nope! ShippingEasy will print the correct label, so you won’t need to take any additional steps. As long as all of the correct information is included with your shipment, ShippingEasy will create the new HAZMAT label.
Shipping hazardous materials through ShippingEasy
The process for shipping HAZMAT packages in ShippingEasy hasn’t changed. If you’re new to shipping these types of products or need a reminder, you can use the following steps to create your label:
- Move your domestic shipment to the Ready to Ship page.
- Click USPS – One Balance Carrier and select either Priority or Priority Mail Express as your service.
- Select the checkbox by Contains Hazardous Materials.
- Create your label and print!