How to Recycle Button Cell Batteries

Button cell batteries are round, between 5 and 12 mm in diameter and commonly found in watches, hearing aids and calculators. According to the Mercury Education and Reduction Campaign, mercury was removed from alkaline batteries in 1996, but not from button cell batteries. If incinerated or left in landfills, mercury and other toxins can leak out and enter water supplies and food chains. Therefore, button cell batteries should be recycled and not put into the regular trash.

Button, or coin, batteries contain toxins and need to be recycled instead of thrown into the trash.

Step 1

Remove the dead button cell battery from your watch or other electronic device. Store the battery in a place where damage won't occur before recycling. If bringing your item to a store for battery replacement, it is fine to leave the battery in.

Step 2

Bring your dead battery to your nearest watch store. Since they replace batteries often, your watch retailers may have recycling through their store.

Step 3

Check with your local recycling facility. They may not allow for curb pick-up of batteries, but they might have battery recycling on site.

Step 4

Head to your nearest Home Depot, Battery Center or Ace Hardware with your dead batteries. These retailers and others let customers drop off batteries in store to be recycled. Visit Call2Recycle's website (see Resources) to find the nearest retail location for recycling your button cell batteries. It is always a good idea to check with the retailer first as not all locations may participate.

Step 5

Watch for hard-to-recycle events in the surrounding municipalities in your area, especially popular in the spring when everyone does the big spring cleaning. Batteries might be one of the items they will take for free or for a small fee depending on the particular city.

Courtney Johnson

Courtney Johnson is a freelance sports writer and photographer based in California. Her articles and photos appear regularly in newspapers and magazines such as "Triathlete" and "Cross Country Skier." Johnson graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in media production and minor in writing. She is studying for her copy editing certificate at the University of San Diego.