Rechargeable, button, and UPS Batteries

closeup button cell battery or watch battery or coin cell, used to power small electronics devices such as wrist watches or computer motherboard.Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Batteries are made of materials that can be toxic to the environment if not properly disposed of. These materials include acid, nickel, lead, lithium, cadmium, alkaline, mercury, and nickel metal hydride. While alkaline batteries are no longer classified as hazardous, all other types including rechargeable, button, or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries are actually combustible and could cause a fire. Really! Here are 7 more everyday things you didn’t realize were illegal.


Computer circuit board with central processing unitJurgis Mankauskas/Shutterstock

Most household electronics contain hundreds of small components—some that contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and more that are toxic to the environment. There are various ways to properly dispose of household electronics, including donations, take-backs, mail-backs, e-cycles, e-waste events, drop offs, and even curbside appointments. Learn more about what do with your old cell phone and your old computer.

Thermostats & thermometers

Professional oven thermometerTheSerGOgo/Shutterstock

Some thermometers and thermostats still contain mercury, which is a neurotoxin so hazardous to the human body that some states ban the sale of mercury thermometers in favor of digital thermometers with chargeable batteries instead. Mercury is highly toxic and can cause harm to the nervous, digestive, and immune systems. It can also effect lungs and kidneys, where exposure could be fatal. If you have a mercury thermostat in your home, when it comes time for a replacement it’s advisable to switch to a digital thermostat. When you do, be sure you find a proper place to recycle the old mercury thermostat by checking If you’re working with a contractor to replace your home thermostat, ask him how he will be disposing of the old one. Contractors are required by law to recycle mercury thermostats properly. Don’t miss these 15 more things that shouldn’t go in the recycling bin.