(L-R BOL Chair Vedat Gashi, Leg. Terry Clements, Dpty. C.E. Ken Jenkins, C.E. George Latimer, Leg. James Nolan, Leg. Colin Smith, Min. Leader Margaret Cunzio)
White Plains, NY — Today, the Board of Legislators joined with the County Executive to adopt a local law to stem the incidences of unnecessary fires and fire-related tragedies caused by the use of lithium-ion batteries. The law prohibits the sale, lease or rental of a wide variety of products, devices and equipment unless it utilizes a properly graded, factory-installed battery. 
Damaged or unstable batteries and improper charging, storage or disposal can cause the batteries to overheat, leading to an explosive, aggressive fire that spreads rapidly, and is challenging to extinguish. Educating the public to the potential hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries, as well as providing the appropriate safety measures will mitigate those risks. The requirement of signage will allow consumers to make smarter and safer buying choices.
Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D - New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) said, “We are being proactive at exactly the right time. Because the global micro-mobility market is projected to grow from about $40 billion today to $215 billion by 2030, due mostly to the sale and use of battery-powered electric devices of all types, the time to act on regulating lithium ion batteries is now. We are glad to be on the same page as the County Executive in identifying and acting on this increasing threat to public safety. The number of lithium ion battery-related fires more than doubled from 2021 to 2022, and that will increase exponentially. Now is the time to pass this local law to protect residents and first-responders from a growing public safety hazard.”
Legislator Terry Clements (D- New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) said, “As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am pleased to announce a new local law to protect residents and first responders from faulty Lithium-Ion battery fires and explosions. The Law regulates the use, sale, and lease of E-bikes and other electric mobility devices. Retail outlets are required to post warning signs about Lithium-Ion battery fire risk. The next step is to develop and launch a public information campaign to educate consumers to mitigate potential risks associated with Lithium-Ion battery use.”
Minority Leader Margaret Cunzio (C- Mt. Pleasant, North Castle, Pleasantville, Valhalla, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff Manor) said, “Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly found in devices that the public and first responders interact with every day- including cars, scooters, laptops and electric bikes.  As a volunteer firefighter, I have witnessed firsthand the damage that these devices can cause.  This legislation is a starting point to help protect lives and property and provides the necessary framework to help prevent devastating battery-related incidents.”
Legislator Colin Smith (D - Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown) said, “This new law will protect both first-responders and residents from the dangers posed by lithium-ion battery fires and explosions. As the use of these items has greatly increased over the past several years, so too has the incidence of damage to both life and property, including even some fatalities, associated with them. This law not only regulates the sale of lithium-ion battery devices, but requires retailers to post conspicuous warnings regarding the potential dangers associated with them, as well providing for a robust public information campaign aimed at educating consumers of the risks posed by their use."
County Executive George Latimer said, “In signing this legislation, we are taking a significant step in protecting Westchester County from the dangers of lithium-ion battery fires. Our comprehensive Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Program, featuring safe disposal options, point-of-sale warnings, firefighter training and robust education efforts, demonstrates our commitment to public safety. We're dedicated to ensuring that these batteries are used responsibly, safeguarding the lives and property of Westchester County residents.”
Westchester’s new comprehensive Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Program includes:
  • Legislation requiring point of sale warnings and safety information,
  • Requirements that devices meet UL safety standards, and 
  • Prohibition on the sale of re-assembled or damaged batteries.

The Program also includes public education, Firefighter training, and disposal options for damaged and old batteries.

Residents can bring lithium-ion batteries, damaged or otherwise ready for disposal to the H-MRF in Valhalla. Residents outside the Refuse Disposal District (Bedford, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and Somers), may incur a fee associated with handling and/or disposal. New York State also offers an extended producer responsibility program for non-mobility batteries under 25 lbs. administered by Call2Recycle. Residents can contact Call2 Recycle to find a drop-off location near them. 
Some manufacturers handle lithium-ion battery disposal directly. Residents may consider contacting the manufacturer of the battery or product for safe disposal options. 
Certain brands of lithium-ion batteries used for e-bikes can be brought to a local e-bike retailer for handling. 
Other tips for residents include: 
  • When transporting lithium-ion batteries that are damaged, residents should take care to package them for transport and may place them in sand or kitty litter.
  • Extra-large lithium-ion batteries, such as those used for electric vehicles, are not accepted at the H-MRF. Residents should contact the manufacturer for safe disposal options of these batteries.
  • Residents should contact the local fire department if there is a thermal event (sparking or fire) from a lithium-ion battery. Fire departments are trained to respond to these events and secure the battery to prevent re-ignition of the battery.