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Thread: Photographic chemical disposal

  1. #21

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    Jun 2016
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Maris Rusis, thanks for posting this!
    So... I really shouldn't worry about the environmental impact of disposing my (quite minimal) used B&W chemicals?
    I always bring my fixer and film developer to the cities recycling center, but according to your information, the CO2 impact of driving there might be more harmful than the disposal of the chemicals.
    But what about the recycling? Silver is a precious metal so I would expect that recycling this will have a positive impact on the environment. On the other hand... recycling requires energy and materials, starting with me driving my car to the cities recycling center.
    Considering the environmental cost of the handling, transport and recycling of photo chemicals on one side and the benefits of recycling and avoiding pollution on the other side.... what would be the bottom line balance for someone like me, disposing some 20 litres of developer and fixer per year?

  2. #22
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    LOL
    i love threads like this ...
    if the internet was around in the 1990s when
    one of my colleagues/local pro was fined $10K x 10 days ( yes that's $100,000 )
    for being "non compliant" i would have loved to have
    seen the peoples' face who would have fined him
    when he says " i read a thread on the internet
    and a couple of chemists posted this thing about how
    dumping my waste was OK so i did what they suggested was OK, they even posted
    a 20 year old article that kodak published** saying it was OK "
    i am sure they would have laughed a good laugh

    ** j-300 was written when kodak was one of the, or THE largest polluter in the usa.
    the updated publication was published after they paid tens of millions of dollars in fines for polluting.
    enjoy your coffee

  3. #23

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    Feb 2017
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    LOL
    i love threads like this ...
    if the internet was around in the 1990s when
    one of my colleagues/local pro was fined $10K x 10 days ( yes that's $100,000 )
    for being "non compliant" i would have loved to have
    seen the peoples' face who would have fined him
    when he says " i read a thread on the internet
    and a couple of chemists posted this thing about how
    dumping my waste was OK so i did what they suggested was OK, they even posted
    a 20 year old article that kodak published** saying it was OK "
    i am sure they would have laughed a good laugh

    ** j-300 was written when kodak was one of the, or THE largest polluter in the usa.
    the updated publication was published after they paid tens of millions of dollars in fines for polluting.
    There's a difference between home use and a commercial operation.

    I'm pretty sure that if you're a pro operating out of your home, you have to follow pertinent disposal regulations. It's DEFINITELY if you hang a shingle as a pro photographer in a non-residential location.

    At my work, we are diligent about waste and self report even accidental discharges into the drain. Before we phased out mercury thermometers in lower level teaching labs(grudgingly) we'd have a couple of broken ones a semester and it was almost inevitable that at least one would end up with a bead or two rolling into the drain. Despite the fact that elemental mercury in sewer water is basically benign and also will stay in the sink trap until the end of time, we'd still report it.

    BTW, our waste co-ordinator still talks about when they decomissioned the oldest part of the university hospital. She talks about the workers pulling out sink traps that weighed 50lbs because of all of the mercury in them. Apparently it was SOP with broken thermometers at one time to wash the mercury down the sink, and something like a sphygmomanometer can have several ounces of mercury.

  4. #24

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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Maris,

    Thanks for your response. I'm not a chemist and cannot speak with the authority you can, but really wanted to say about the same thing.

    Silver recovery makes sense if it's easy (e.g., photofinisher in the area, etc.) but if not, down the drain it goes for me, especially after my hazmat experience with fixer. FWIW, I routinely disposed of relatively small amounts of fixer and other photochemicals into a septic system for years with no ill effects whatsoever.

    As for selenium toner, I replenish and reuse and never have to dump any (just what comes out in the wash).


    Best,

    Doremus

  5. #25
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Quote Originally Posted by ben_hutcherson View Post
    There's a difference between home use and a commercial operation.
    hi ben

    in the eyes of the people who enforce the laws there isn't a difference at all.
    Last edited by jnantz; 24-Mar-2017 at 09:24. Reason: less wordy same thing
    enjoy your coffee

  6. #26

    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    This has continued to be really fun, I had no idea when I asked the original question that there would be so much interest and even controversy on this subject. It is a great way to learn......getting people to talk about things. Thanks for the input and let's keep it going.i think that it is an important subject.

  7. #27
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    this thread makes me wonder, when the epa is dismantled, and the clean water act cancelled can someone
    who turns their front yard into a wet plate studio ( equipt with a cyan blue lawn from dumping KCn so they look like
    their house was built on an old gasworks ) be able to claim they only respnd to federal laws (or lack of them ! ) and disregard local laws
    when the LOCAL/STATE/COMMONWEALTH-EPA Enforcement police come with the space suits and hand cuffs .. i seem to remember some guy in florida
    recently claiming personal dominion ( i think that is what it is called ) when he broke some sort of law claiming it didn't pertain to him.
    Last edited by jnantz; 25-Mar-2017 at 16:10.
    enjoy your coffee

  8. #28

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    Jan 2016
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    Central Oho
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Two possibilities: Columbus has a "household hazardous waste" collection facility. You can drop off old car batteries, toxic household cleaners, etc. They take fixer, as long as it's in "small" amounts. Like a gallon or two every few months. You shouldn't have more than that.

    Also, universities or other organizations that have somewhat large darkrooms will have facilities for taking the silver out of the fixer. Sometimes they'll let amateur folks like us bring their fixer in and dump it.

  9. #29

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    May 2016
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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Quote Originally Posted by mfohl View Post
    Two possibilities: Columbus has a "household hazardous waste" collection facility. You can drop off old car batteries, toxic household cleaners, etc. They take fixer, as long as it's in "small" amounts. Like a gallon or two every few months. You shouldn't have more than that.

    Also, universities or other organizations that have somewhat large darkrooms will have facilities for taking the silver out of the fixer. Sometimes they'll let amateur folks like us bring their fixer in and dump it.
    Important note: Columbus won't take waste if you live outside Franklin County. Even though I could throw a stone and have it land in the City and we pay taxes to the city because my wife works at OSU, we still can't take waste to any of the Columbus sites because we're about half an inch into Licking County. Sadly, Licking County doesn't have any waste disposal sites for homeowners. Our only legal recourse is to contract a HAZMAT disposal company at great expense.

  10. #30

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    Re: Photographic chemical disposal

    Quote Originally Posted by mfohl View Post
    Also, universities or other organizations that have somewhat large darkrooms will have facilities for taking the silver out of the fixer. Sometimes they'll let amateur folks like us bring their fixer in and dump it.
    Interesting.... in the USA there are still universities, schools, art schools, communities, companies operating darkrooms? Over here (Netherlands, and I think most of Europe) that time is long gone. There are only very few darkrooms left, mostly operated by amateurs or idealists. All (art) schools and other institutes went 100% digital many years ago. Darkrooms have been dismantled and dumped or sold at bargain proces. I bought the complete professional darkroom inventory (7 high-end Durst enlargers and lots more) of the Royal Art Academy in The Hague 3 years back; it hadn't been used for many years, it took me half a day to load it into a rented van and it costed me only some 400 bucks.
    Sounds like you guys in the USA are lucky, with still quite some institutional darkrooms around.
    Regarding disposal of photo chemicals: here I'm lucky. My city still collects and recycles developer and fixer, so I go there twice a year. However, reading the comments of some experts (chemical engineers) in this thread, I'm wondering whether that is still worth the effort. Driving my car there might be more harmful to the environment that flushing everything down the drain, especially since waste water purification over here is at a very high level so no chemicals will ever reach the "wider" environment. I have some 15 1-litre bottles of developer and fixer waiting to be brought to the recycling station but now I'm wondering whether it might be better to the environment to flush them down the drain....

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