Recently I've heard of people in our region (central Europe) traveling around to buy used button cell batteries of all sizes and types for a moderate price. Thinking about the price, the batteries can be and should be recycled, but no official recycling site in our country would pay anybody to bring the batteries there.

Is there any motivation to gather used batteries other than recycling them?
(I have some ideas but don't want to influence the possible answers.)

I want to gather more information on this topic here because I don't like people doing this only for profit and (maybe) harming the environment carelessly.

  • 1
    Do you mean wet-cell lead acid batteries? Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 9:27
  • 1
    @HighlyIrregular - I updated the question to make more clear which batteries I meant (all kinds of button cell batteries).
    – Peter Ivan
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 7:10
  • I can't speak specifically to batteries in Europe, but in the United States, we have had an issue where ewaste recycling became relatively profitable due to shipping the waste off to countries with less stringent worker and environmental protections for destruction and recycling. Usually these came in the form of free ewaste collection, rather than them paying you for dead batteries, but again, that's in the US.
    – Nick
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Off hand, no.

Ultimately your choices are:

  1. Find a way to recharge them. Unlikely, although for some batteries you can partially reverse the discharge and give them a few percent of their original charge. This would be in essence a scam. This is reuse.

  2. Take them apart for their components. This is recycling.

  3. Come up with a new use. Tiddly-winks. Introduce them as coins in a sufficiently gullible/primitive society. Use them as counters to teach young children math facts. Beat them into fishing spoons. Put holes in them and make them into Christmas decorations.

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