How do you get rid of your photo chemical.

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Grandpa Ron, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Since my photographic experience goes back to the late 1960s, I would like to know how you dispose of your used developer, stop and fixer.

    I am talking black and white nothing exotic. Is it safe to dump down the drain or just let it evaporate?


     
  2. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Developer and stop I put down the drain and run water for 5 minutes (NOT a drain with a garbage disposal !).
    Fixer I take to work as we have a silver recovery unit. DO NOT put fixer down the drain, find a lab that takes it or a hazard waste facility in your area.

    DO NOT mix your developer and stop before flushing.
    DO NOT use bleach anywhere near any photographic chemicals.
     
  3. snowbear

    snowbear fuzzy-wuzzy Supporting Member

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    Thanks, very good to know. I would think the developer would have the silver.
     
  4. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That is a common misconception but all the silver is in the fixer. You can also take left over undeveloped film tab clippings and soak them in fixer and run that fix in the silver recovery unit.
     
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  5. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Black and White and Colour chemistry from a home darkroom can usually be put down the drain as long as the Fixer or Bleach-Fix (Blix) has been de-silvered.

    I worked in the Precious metal industry and we collected chemistry from Commercial labs, I also liaised with various water boards in the UK to get labs discharge licenses as we fitted silvery recovery units. The discharge levels here in the UK were similar to the US etc. It's about the load on sewage treatment works, the more spread out and dilute the better. It be unusual if a lab couldn't get a license, a large lab very close to a small sewage works was the example I was given by Thames Water Board who supply and treat London water and sewage.

    At work we had a license to dispose of a few thousand litres of developer, fixer, bleach fix etc, a day but we had large plating units to recover all the silver.

    You can treat your fixer or bleach fix by adding wire wool which will drop the silver out of solution, keep the sludge and then dispose of the clear solution. This will take the Silver content below the legal maximum level which is usually 5ppm (parts per million).

    Ian
     
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  6. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually it's recommended to mix the chemicals before disposal as it helps neutralise them and keep the discharge within pH limits.

    In a typical lab the Colour developer is mixed with the de-silvered Fixer and Bleach fix as it's discharged.

    Ian
     
  7. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Interesting, never heard that before. Good info.

    Agreed.
     

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