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USPS Packaging Instruction 6D

Sharps Waste and Other Regulated Medical Waste

Regulated medical waste and sharps medical waste known or suspected to contain a Category A infectious substance is not mailable. Regulated medical waste and sharps medical waste as defined in 346.12f and 346.12g and containing materials classified as Category B infectious substances are permitted for mailing provided that all applicable requirements specified in 346.322 are met.

For packaging instructions for medical professional packages, refer to 346.322bd.

Proper Shipping Name and ID Number

Required Authorization

  • Each vendor of a complete regulated medical waste or sharps waste mailing container system (including all component parts required to safely mail such waste to a storage or disposal facility) must obtain authorization from the Postal Service prior to mailing. The vendor in whose name the authorization is being sought must submit a written request to the manager of Mailing Standards, Postal Service Headquarters (see DMM 608.8.0 for address).


Required Packaging

  • Only regulated medical waste and sharps medical waste mailing container systems approved by Postal Service Headquarters may be mailed. Approved packaging must meet all requirements in 346.322b, including a leakproof primary receptacle (also puncture-resistant for sharps medical waste), a water-resistant secondary containment system, enough material within the primary receptacle to absorb and retain three times the total liquid allowed within the primary receptacle, and a step-by-step instruction sheet that details the sequence and method of container assembly prior to mailing.
  • Each mailpiece must have a four-part waste shipping paper. The shipping paper must be affixed to the outside of the mailpiece in an envelope or similar carrier that can be easily opened and resealed to allow review of the document. The shipping paper must comply with all applicable requirements imposed by the laws of the state from which the container system is mailed. At a minimum, the information in Exhibit 346.322c3 must be on the shipping paper.