Button Cell Batteries Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains Contains Mercury Hazardous Waste Never Throw in the Trash Button batteries sometimes contain mercury. Even if they don’t, they are banned from the trash because they contain other toxic and corrosive chemicals. Dispose of them as hazardous waste. Did You Know? Why Is Mercury Still in Batteries? Mercury is included in batteries for a reason: It’s used as a stabilizer and gives batteries a longer life. In 1996, the Mercury Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act prohibited the sale of mercury-oxide batteries in the U.S., except for select applications.