Meat Thermometer Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains Contains Mercury Hazardous Waste How to Check for Mercury A silver, metallic liquid will be visible from inside the bulb or vial if the thermometer contains mercury. If it does contain mercury, do not throw it away. Dispose of it with hazardous waste. Never Throw Away Vintage Thermometers Vintage meat thermometers are more likely to contain mercury, so never throw them away. Instead, dispose of them as hazardous waste. Digital Thermometers Are E-Waste To dispose of digital thermometers, first remove the batteries and dispose of them separately. Then, dispose of the thermometers as e-waste to keep toxic materials from leaching into the environment. Disposable and Analog Thermometers Disposable and analog meat thermometers are mercury-free and can be thrown in the garbage. Ways to Reduce Don't Purchase Mercury If you purchase less mercury, there’s less chance it can be improperly disposed of, which reduces the amount that can leach into the environment and our water supply.