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Thread: Philippines chemical dumping- -help?

  1. #1

    Philippines chemical dumping- -help?

    Does anyone here know how to dispose their photo chemicals safely
    for the environment? Please help me on this matter, and share
    useful information.

    I enjoy and respect Nature, and as a photographer and an artist, it
    is very important to preserve Nature's beauty.

    However, being a photographer, we use chemicals that can damage the
    environment. This goes for digital and traditional photography.

    For digital photography, the printing shops should have a safe way
    of chemical disposal.

    For traditional black and white photography, individual
    photographers should be responsible.

    Does anyone know how to dispose used chemicals safely in the

    I know that abroad, they actually have government service that takes
    environmentally hazardous containers and chemicals from the villages
    (usual examples are house paint, insecticides, batteries, even used
    black and white photo chemicals). Not all have this service, so
    photographers go to local government agencies and bring their stored
    used chemicals there for proper disposal. I don't know if we have a
    local government agency here in the Philippines that would dispose
    photo chemicals. If we can just actually bring the used chemicals
    there for proper disposal...if anyone knows of such an agency, let
    me know.

    Please help me on this matter because I am currently printing for a
    photo exhibit, and I don't want to be guilty for dumping toxic
    chemicals down the drain. I currently store my exhausted developer (dektol)
    in a glass jar. I don't know how to properly dump all the chemicals (developer, stop bath, fixer). I hope someone here knows how to deal with the
    problem. Let me know how I can dispose the chemicals safely.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Los Angeles

    Re: Philippines chemical dumping- -help?

    Black and white photochemicals aren't NEARLY in the same hazard category as insecticides - in fact hydroquinone (a common developer) is taken in an extremely concentrated form in the third world in pill form by many thousands of people daily. Probably the most toxic aspect of your used chemistry is the silver in your fixer. Color chemistry is far more hazardous. That being said, however, you really should contact your local authorities and find out from them. If you want to get really clever about it, you could keep the used chemicals exposed to sunlight to break them down as much as possible - so that you're left with even simpler salts. I wonder if anybody on the web has done any research on recycling photochemicals...?

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Re: Philippines chemical dumping- -help?

    I'll take a look for a good website on the topic for you when I get a chance ... the informatin is out there.

    Here are some basics:

    Like JW said, the most important thing is the silver thiosulfate in your fix. The good news is that you can remove virtually all of it, easily. Collect your exhausted fix, and then once in a while pour it into a large bucket or jar with steel wool. The finer the strands of the steel wool, the better. Mix it around, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you'll see dark sludge at the bottom. This contains the silver that was pulled out of solution.

    Save this, and you can safely dump the rest down the drain. The amount of sludge you get will be quite small. In years of doing this I only accumulated a small jar of it. Maybe a few dollars worth of very impure silver.

    Other chemicals that are worrisome are ones that contain metals: silver nitrate, gold chloride, any chromium intensifier, etc. etc.. It's best to just save these and not dump them. Eventually you might find a photo lab or chemical waste plant that can take them.

    Most of the other chemicals are fairly benign. However, if you have a septic tank, or if you want to be extra kind to your sewage treatment plant, there are a couple of things you can do. One is neutralize acids and bases. This is easy enough to do ... just mix used developer with used stop bath. The other is dilute it with a lot of water before dumping it. Mostly a concern if you have a septic tank, or drain pipes that might be made of iron or something else that corrodes.

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