Requirements to ship loose Cells

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Active member
Sep 25, 2018

What are the requirements to ship single and or a multitude of harvested cells esp. in the US but worldwide info would also be useful.
Also does anyone have a recycler that they use to dispose of unwanted cells? Are there people that buy scrap cells?
I do see some recyclers will come and pick them up but most of them want them on a pallet. I'm sure at some point I will have enough to fill a small pallet but that will take some time and lots of storage space.
Just wondering how do you go about it.



Sep 2, 2017
Some time ago I've researched all the requirements you have to meet to send cells using the usual parcel carriers like DHL, UPS and so on. For a private person in Germany this is impossible to do and since the rules are almost the same in every country this applies to the whole of Europe. You have to arrange transport using a proper freight forwarding company which makes it complicated and expensive so that it isn't worthwhile to do for a limited amount of small cells. I'm not familiar with the rules in the US but as far as I understand it's problematic as well.

As far as recycling is concerned, I'm not aware of companies buying cells as scrap. Can't imagine that a company like this exists at all since this is a complex process and not just scrapping some metal. I've brought the unwanted cells to my local municipal waste collector and recycler. In my case they made a clear point that I'm unwanted there with my lithium cells, being the unprofessional jokers that they are, as they felt overwhelmed by even a small box of cells and treated lithium cells as a highly specialized and unusual waste. They referred me to a commercial recycling company and obviously they handled this much more professional after we had a good laugh over the clowns at the municipal facility. It's not free though, they charge by weight and I can't remember the exact figures anymore, but it comes down to around 5 EUR for a big box of cells (like a couple of hundred).

This seems to be my personal fate though, usually this shouldn't be a problem. It's just that my local facility happens to be run by some random clowns.
Dec 2, 2017
I did some research in this area a couple of weeks ago as I was lining up some visits to local computer shops to gather some laptop packs for the hobby.

In the process, I did some asking around at the local university hospital where they have lots of crash carts and equipment carts that are battery powered and these devices must be on some kind of preventative maintenance schedule where they replace the batteries before they ever cause an issue.

Long story short, in my area the best cells probably go to the recyclers, so I researched recycling and the shipping requirements for Li-ion cells and there are documents that say shipping loose cells at something like <30% SOC...

My process leaves the cells discharged, so they float up to "as low as you can go" without shipping them with a load attached to them.

I used the USPS, and answerd the question appropriately about perfumes, liquids, Li batteries or any other hazardous material.

The only complaint I got from the US postal folks was the form factor of my package... It was too small for the labels. I used a 1x10 array side by side. A 2x5 would probably be too small as well, so if the number of cells are less than 20 the package size would be for convenience of labeling. If there are more cells, the guidelines get more focused on common sense prevention of unwanted electrical contact.

This is a good read on commercial shipments that may help the hobbyist stay safe with an eye on what the commercial guidelines are .

Here is a link to a global recycler.

And another in the States:


Oct 8, 2016
Same in Sweden. You are not allowed to ship with any postal service in any bigger quantity. UPS i know have taken them on without asking though up to 25kg and can be marked as Batteries but i bet they haven't updated all requirements.

For instance moving batteries in Sweden as private person is allowed as long as the quantity is for private use only but what is the qualification for that? They couldnt tell me..

As Company its 10000x harder...