Silver Recovery

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thebanana, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. mklw1954

    mklw1954 Member

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    Let's get a little perspective on silver recovery. Check out Kodak Publication J-210 "Sources of Silver in Photographic Processing Facilities". It provides an example of how much silver can be recovered by a lab. A lab processing 50 rolls per day, 6 days per week, i.e., 15,000 rolls per year can recover 280 troy oz. of silver per year. At $20 per oz. you could get $5,600 per year for that amount of silver, not including the cost of equipment and chemicals to recover it. But that's for a lab. I typically shoot and develop 60 rolls of film per year. So, proportionally, I could get $22 a year for the silver, not including the cost of recovering it. In other words, it's not worth considering.

    On the environmental side, the amount (mass) of silver you dispose to the drain is so small that it's probably not detectable after dilution, perticularly if you are on a community sewer and sewage treatment plant system. Maybe a heavy home film/paper developer on a septic system would have a concern after many years.
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    depending on where you live one can get into a heap of trouble putting spent fixer down the drain
    i know of someone locally who was fined about $$100k for not complying to the regulations.
    not that every local is that strict, its just not nice to your water supply, septic system, pipes, ground water local ecosystem &c ...
    kodak made a 180 degree turnaround from the publication that is usually quoted from where they say it is okay
    to put the stuff down the drain. another publication from the same source ( kodak ) a few years later ( 1990s)
    says do not put anything down the drain.
     
  3. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I tried the bucket of fix and a roll of steel wool. Ended with a bucket of rusty sludge months later. I've got a silver magnet now.
     
  4. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Work with a large printer with which the bleach fixing crashing/precipitating a creamy precipitate out is common (RA-4 process) - I think the replenishment rate is too low, but it's already on the maximum setting.

    Here's what it looks like on the filter when that happens. I assume it's silver halide precipitate or some other silver precipitate (doesn't seem to dissolve too well in fresh fix) and worth recovering?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It could be Iron Oxide or Iron Hydroxide. They both have that look and will not dissolve in much of anything.

    PE
     
  6. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Thanks PE, I checked the pH with just a test strip indicator, it looks between 5 and 6, closer to 5. Can't get a more precise reading pH meter battery seems dead and I can't figure out how to open the thing.


    For the record, the blix still works (Even if left unfiltered), filtering it does make it look normal again, but putting more paper through does make it precipitate again.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You have a problem. Probably too much developer carryover. Try a stop if you can, or make the blix just a tad more acidic. You could also try adding about 1g/l of Na2EDTA to the blix. It slows it down but works most of the time.

    PE
     
  8. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    From what I can tell, the documentation refers to 5.8 to 6.0 for most of the Fuji blixes, I'll have a play around with it. The design of this printer isn't that great. The 3 tanks following the blix are all wash tanks that replenish at the last tank ande overflow carries forward the next 2 tanks, so it can't really be re-arranged.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A stop would go before the blix and might help this. Of course assuming I am correct about the problem.

    PE
     
  10. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    by "anything" you mean developer, stop and fixer?

    How about fixer that have not been used?
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It depends on local laws.
     
  12. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Are there here anybody in Germany who can help me find out about the local laws?
     
  13. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Visit the water authorities at your county resp. independant city authority:

    "Effluents/waste from photographic processes are considered as fluid waste and may not be dumped into the sewage system."

    For non-commercial users there is the free hazardous-waste collecting service offered by cities and counties.
    As commercial user you have inform.
     
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  15. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Thank you.
     
  16. Arklatexian

    Arklatexian Subscriber

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    Please don't forget the chemicals used in making printed circuit boards and probably in making other components, not to mention chemicals in the paint, etc, etc, etc........Regards
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    circuit boards, paints &c have nothing to do with photochemistry ( neither do household cleaning products )

    regulations involving photochemistry have to do with ph, volume and chemistry used ...
    ( selenium, or dichromate bleach, or silver rich fixer, or highly basic developer &c )
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Circuit boards are made with an etching solution similar to the E6 Bleach. So, this does apply in that case regarding dumping.

    Lye drain cleaners and other types of solutions also alter pH drastically and thus fit in with some developers such as Rodinal and etc.

    The list goes on.

    PE
     
  19. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    I think the concern is more about heavy metals.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi PE

    i agree, it might apply in general sense, but marcoifs was asking about photochemistry, not etching circuit boards or lye.

    over the years whenever someone asks a question specific to photochemistry respondents go off on a tangent about household cleaners or other things else that
    have nothing to do with the asked question/s ... and then respondents start moaning about how fascist the governments are for not allowing us to dump whatever we
    want down the drain ... because it is their right as property owners to do whatever they want ( &c ) ... its not that i don't agree with you, i do but
    from what i gather he is not using exotic bleaches, toners, or doing e6 / c41 processing but basic black and white ( maybe i am wrong ? )


    hi marciofs

    run of the mill black and white chemistry i don't believe has heavy metals. ( i might be wrong )
    there is silver that ends up in the fixer, but over the years folks ( including me ! ) have referred to silver
    as a heavy metal and were corrected ... maybe exotic toners have heavy metals in them ?
    but from all reports, developer, stop bath, fixer, fixer remover and water don't have heavy metals in them ...

    the silver is a bacteriacide / kills the beneficial bacteria in the sewer/septic system, and depending
    on your location ( at least here in the usa ) local regulations may supersede federal / state regulations.
    for example federal / state regulations might say 5parts per million silver is not OK to drain,
    but local regulations might say 3 or 1 part per million because of various watershed issues &c ...

    its best to find out where you live what the regulations are and proceed from there.
    and often times towns have household waste recovery day where you can bring
    a bucket of photo-waste and just leave it for the town/city &c to deal with ... like with cans of paint, or CFC lightbulbs &c.

    you might be able to find a company that sells trickle tanks ( locally ) and put all your fixer and wash water through the tank which will exchange
    iron ( usually ) for silver and the trickle tanks will get you pretty low .. not to "0" but somewhere between 1ish and 5 depending on how you use it
    ( and if you put it through a 2nd time it gets lower ) ... depending on the media and amount of media in the tank, they last anywhere from 200-800 gallons
    and if you use some sort of pre-treatment ( like an electrolytic system ( like a silver magnet ) ) you will get more than double the gallons/lifespan.

    good luck
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2014
  21. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Thanks for the sugestion. :D
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    John, I guess I was too vague. Many cities or regions ban photochemicals being dumped, when in fact many household chemicals contain similar ingredients. Also, they ignore ingredients from industries other than photography. It seems that when there were a lot of photo labs "in the day", well, they were on the radar for government and the small uses are off the radar. So cleaning a drain with lye is legal but dumping Rodinal is not in some areas - it is photographic.

    In reality, now, the use of photographic chemicals is so "rare" that it is tantamount to drain cleaning.

    Now, I am the first to admit that there are other chemicals in photographic effluent, but consider how many people dump pills. So, a dump of old Tylenol and then cleaning your drain is the same as dumping an equivalent of developer. And "fixing" your pool in the summer and then backwashing can put as much hypo out there as processing and printing your film and then dumping the fixer.

    PE
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey PE

    no, you weren't vague ...
    as i said, i couldn't agree with you more ... it is too bad that photochemistry gets scrutinized while other things don't but
    those are the rules of the game we play i suppose.

    i did get a call over the last year and a state official told me photochemistry was downgraded ( state level ) so maybe things are changing ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2014
  24. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    I got it. I didn't think you were vague at all.
     
  25. Ashfaque

    Ashfaque Member

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    Interesting video (apologies if it has been posted before). Click on the video's settings to select a translated subtitles. :smile:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgPDF0hpwzA

    PS: Anyone has a proper English subtitles? The automated one is silly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2015
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Why not? Is there not yet such facility in vietnamese cities?
     
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