Heavy metals are considered conservative pollutants, in that they Herbimycin A are not readily broken down or destroyed in the environment, although they are often immobilised in the solid matrix of the terrain (Alloway, 2013). As most heavy metals are toxic elements, improper disposal of discarded batteries poses a serious risk to human health and the environment (Jarup, 2003, Lindqvist, 1995 and Mukherjee et al., 2004). Many countries have legislated on the manufacture and disposal of batteries (EC (European Commission), 2000, EC (European Commission), 2006, Guevara-García and Montiel-Corona, 2012, Smith and Gray, 2010 and USC (United States Congress), 1996). Regulated issues include special labelling, limit values for maximum contents, and even prohibition of certain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium or nickel, as well as selective collection, controlled dumping and recycling of used batteries. The main efforts have focused on phasing out the use of mercury (EC (European Commission), 2008 and Kim and Choi, 2012), although the production of button cells is one of the remaining uses of mercury in the European Union (EU; BIO Intelligence Service, 2012). Although manufacturers are beginning to market mercury-free versions of button cells (Galligan and Morose, 2004), these battery formats are still permitted to contain up to 2% of their weight in mercury in the EU (EC, 2006), and some commercially available batteries in the EU have been shown to exceed this limit value (Recknagel et al., 2014).