Light Up Shoes Illegal in Garbage or Drains Hazardous Waste Contains Mercury Light-up shoes may contain mercury and so should never be thrown away in the trash. This is particularly true for light-up shoes made prior to 1997, which should be disposed of as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). Newer Shoes Are E-Waste More recently, manufacturers are leaving mercury out, and instead making light-up shoes using LED lights and electrical switches. Remove the e-button battery before disposal, and then you can dispose of them as e-waste. Did You Know? Mercury Bans Likely Don’t Affect Your Child’s Light Up Shoes These days more people know about the dangers of mercury exposure, and recent legislation has helped cut back on the use of mercury in society. Yet, light up shoe manufacturers can still use button batteries which are known to contain mercury.