Washing Film - Best Environmentally Friendly Way to Do It?

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goodimage

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Have just processed 5 rolls of 120 film this morning and as I was washing them I started to think about the amount of water I use when printing and processing my B&W work.

Water restrictions are coming into effect yet again in South Australia this summer (and also over this past winter!!) and I want to reduce the amount of H2O I use as much as possible. I do use a print washer, but even then it seems to use copious amounts or am I imagining things?? :wink:

How do you wash your prints and films to use the least amount of water possible?
I am using the 5, 10, 15, 20 method with city water for washing film. After you pour out the fixer, fill with 68 degree F water and invert 5 times with a spin on each inversion. Repeat for the 10, 15 and 20 inversion cycles. (550 ml of water each cycle.) Since there are four (4) total emptyings, then 4 x 550 is 2200 ml of water for this phase. The final rinse is when the reel is taken out of the tank and put into a rinse bucket and put 550 ml of distilled water in it and then a 1/2 ml of Ilfotol or Wetting agent of your choice. I just use my fingers to finish with multiple downward wiping and dunking into the water/Ifotol bath. I then hang them up to dry (at an angle) in the dust free drying cabinet. They have all come out, so far, with no water marks, etc. So, with this method the total water usage is 5 x 550 ml = 2750 ml of water. I hope this answers your question, albeit not so brief.
 

Disconnekt

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I am using the 5, 10, 15, 20 method with city water for washing film. After you pour out the fixer, fill with 68 degree F water and invert 5 times with a spin on each inversion. Repeat for the 10, 15 and 20 inversion cycles. (550 ml of water each cycle.) Since there are four (4) total emptyings, then 4 x 550 is 2200 ml of water for this phase. The final rinse is when the reel is taken out of the tank and put into a rinse bucket and put 550 ml of distilled water in it and then a 1/2 ml of Ilfotol or Wetting agent of your choice. I just use my fingers to finish with multiple downward wiping and dunking into the water/Ifotol bath. I then hang them up to dry (at an angle) in the dust free drying cabinet. They have all come out, so far, with no water marks, etc. So, with this method the total water usage is 5 x 550 ml = 2750 ml of water. I hope this answers your question, albeit not so brief.

This is what I do also, with the exception of the wetting agent though, but I did recently order a 4oz bottle of Photographers Formulary's Formaflow from Adorama to add to the process.
 

ann

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Been using informs method for=years. And it works great. 30 year old negTives look great. it is similar to the above=post.
 

mshchem

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I washed my Fujichrome today with 100°F water blasting away at several gallons per minute..... For about 90 seconds. :smile:

First thing I do is fill the tank full then dump it, 4 or 5 times. That gets rid of 99.99% of the fixer.
 

Philippe-Georges

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After wandering around a little (and getting lost) and then intensively conversating with AGFA Leverkusen, a few years before they diminished, I (we) settled with an ecologic water saving method.
After a two bath NEUTRAL fixing (FUJI-HUNT UNILEC 1+4), and then a 2% Natriumsulfit (= Sulfite de sodium = Na2 SO3 = E221) bath for neutralizing the fixer, I wash the film, on their reels in the (inox-) tank (= +/- 800 cc), five times for 2 min. constant agitation on a motorized roller base at 20°C. That's 400 cc per 120 roll film and a total of 10 min.
Then a final bath in the Adox's SISTAN equivalent for 2 min at 20°C.
BTW, the whole processing cyclus is done at 20°C.
According to AGFA, acids are rather difficult to be washed out of the gelatin, and on the other hand Natriumsilfit is very easy, and also that's why I use a buffered stop bath (pH +/- 6) or just plain water.
Anyway, when developing in Pyrocat HD, acids are out of the question...
 
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Philippe-Georges,

Natriumsulfit = Sodium Sulfite in American english (...Sulphite in British), i.e., the usual ingredient in wash-aids (e.g., Kodak Hypo-Clearing Agent). Many of us mix our own wash-aid. Just wanted to make sure that Anglophones understand the chemical you're using.

Doremus
 

Philippe-Georges

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Dear Dorms,

Thank you for this enlightenment.
I was in doubt which was the correct spelling, and if these were the very same compound, but now I have learned...

Philippe
 

Sorrycharlie

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I will admit that I haven’t read through this entire thread, I did read a few pages but not quite the whole thing. Didn’t find the answer here, so....

I’m wondering if I’m washing film and prints using a dump method, like filling a Patterson tank 5-6 times and dumping it, by about the 2nd or 3rd dump can I reuse this water? Like on my garden or something? I know it’s fixer that I’m washing off, but surely it’s so diluted that it’s safe to put in a garden right?? I feel terrible letting it go down the sink.
 

removed account4

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I will admit that I haven’t read through this entire thread, I did read a few pages but not quite the whole thing. Didn’t find the answer here, so....

I’m wondering if I’m washing film and prints using a dump method, like filling a Patterson tank 5-6 times and dumping it, by about the 2nd or 3rd dump can I reuse this water? Like on my garden or something? I know it’s fixer that I’m washing off, but surely it’s so diluted that it’s safe to put in a garden right?? I feel terrible letting it go down the sink.

you might want to contact people in your locale, no one here can answer that because no one here knows the rules/regulations where you live.
i know of people who were heavily misinformed about all sorts of things told to them by photography gurus and helpful people on the internet,
and they turned their yard into a brownfield/superfund site.
good luck!
 

Philippe-Georges

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I will admit that I haven’t read through this entire thread, I did read a few pages but not quite the whole thing. Didn’t find the answer here, so....

I’m wondering if I’m washing film and prints using a dump method, like filling a Patterson tank 5-6 times and dumping it, by about the 2nd or 3rd dump can I reuse this water? Like on my garden or something? I know it’s fixer that I’m washing off, but surely it’s so diluted that it’s safe to put in a garden right?? I feel terrible letting it go down the sink.

I can't answer your question directly, but I recall having read somewhere that Selenium, like the one found in K.R.S.T., in the right amount, is good for a rose garden. So, if you last bath is a Selenium treatment, perhaps then the rinsing water can be used for cultivating nicer roses?

BTW, Selenium can be used for film (contrast, density and archival, to name a few), AA wrote about it in his book 'The Negative'...
 

removed account4

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but I recall having read somewhere that Selenium, like the one found in K.R.S.T., in the right amount, is good for a rose garden. So, if you last bath is a Selenium treatment, perhaps then the rinsing water can be used for cultivating nicer roses?

please do not suggest to people to dump toxic waste into their gardens or do anything but dispose of it in accordance to their local laws. there are trace amounts of selenium in many things ( brazil nuts, vitamins, shampoos, sea water ) the difference is the amounts found in photo chemicals is not TRACE amounts. if you consume too many brazil nuts you get selenium poisoning, and its not pretty.
you might want to contact people in your locale, no one here can answer that because no one here knows the rules/regulations where you live.
i know of people who were heavily misinformed about all sorts of things told to them by photography gurus and helpful people on the internet,
and they turned their yard into a brownfield/superfund site.
good luck!
 

Philippe-Georges

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I will admit that I haven’t read through this entire thread, I did read a few pages but not quite the whole thing. Didn’t find the answer here, so....

I’m wondering if I’m washing film and prints using a dump method, like filling a Patterson tank 5-6 times and dumping it, by about the 2nd or 3rd dump can I reuse this water? Like on my garden or something? I know it’s fixer that I’m washing off, but surely it’s so diluted that it’s safe to put in a garden right?? I feel terrible letting it go down the sink.

please do not suggest to people to dump toxic waste into their gardens or do anything but dispose of it in accordance to their local laws. there are trace amounts of selenium in many things ( brazil nuts, vitamins, shampoos, sea water ) the difference is the amounts found in photo chemicals is not TRACE amounts. if you consume too many brazil nuts you get selenium poisoning, and its not pretty.

Well, yes, you are right, but, I was just quoting what I haded read. But, yes again, that's not a very valuable excuse, so I retract my words.
 

removed account4

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Well, yes, you are right, but, I was just quoting what I haded read. But, yes again, that's not a very valuable excuse, so I retract my words.

no worries ! :smile:
i just worry that sean might get entangled in some sort of situation because someone read here/posted here its OK to do things that might be problematic, depending on where someone lives. it's really hard to give someone disposal advice ( and your post exemplifies this ) because the laws are drastically different depending on where someone lives. for example 3 mins away from me the laws are different than here, and 5 minutes in the other direction different still. a colleague was telling me how his teacher said it was OK to just pour his cyanide fixer and other photographicsubstances in his soggy wet backyard because they came from the earth &c &c. i was kind of dumbfounded seeing, first, i fish in a pond about 3 seconds from where he was pouring his "stuff" .. he laughed and said " dude don't worry, i am "downstream" (from there)." really bummed me out. as they say common sense isn't very common ..
 

MattKing

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It is entirely possible that using water with trace amounts of fixer in it to water your garden is both:
1) against the rules, and
2) completely harmless.
But John (jnantz) is right, it's important to follow those rules - if there are any.
One problem you might encounter is that if there are rules, they may be expressed in terms that require you to know how much fixer (in parts per million) is in that "trace", and you aren't likely to be equipped to measure that.
 
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pentaxuser

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if you consume too many brazil nuts you get selenium poisoning, and its not pretty.
Any idea how many nuts? I must admit that in the U.K. I have never seen any warning on packets of Brazil nuts e about not exceeding X number of Brazil nuts in one session. I assume that it isn't cumulative in the sense that there is a limit to how many Brazil nuts you can consume in your lifetime or is there? .

In the U.K. water regulations allow fixer for use by "home processing users" to be poured into the sewerage system. I wonder if the sewerage plants extract it all or allow a small percentage back into the ground?

If it isn't all captured by the sewerage system and separately disposed of, then the key question is what percentage of fixer after dumping the tank of fixer remains when water has been added and then dumped, say 3 times using the Ilford system? Does this remain a detrimental level and if so does retaining say 1L of water with maybe 2-3 mls of fixer in it and then pouring it into a 100L barrel of rainwater before distribution on the garden then ensure that it has got to harmless levels?

I must say that the more I write my thoughts on paper the less I can believe that such a practice can be hazardous

pentaxuser
 

Arcadia4

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Any idea how many nuts?

According to th articles below;

One Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium, and the upper limit of consumption for adults is 400 micrograms; try to keep your daily dose to four or five nuts. There is limited data about selenium toxicity in humans but the most common outcomes are brittleness and loss of hair and nail, as well as gastrointestinal disturbance, skin rash, fatigue, irritability and nervous system abnormalities

However delving a bit deeper, shows that the upper limit has a factor of safety applied with research indicating people consuming twice this amount showed no ill affect. However 2 brazil nuts would be sufficient to achieve one RDA of selenium.

Probably slighly off topic for a photography forum...

Further reading -
https://www.fix.com/blog/foods-that-can-be-toxic/
https://www.nutsforlife.com.au/resource/if-i-eat-too-many-brazil-nuts-will-i-get-too-much-selenium/
 

Sorrycharlie

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Yeah ok, that’s fair enough, best to err on the side of caution. Just seems such an awful waste, especially in places like here in Australia where we are constantly in the grips of drought.
 

kevs

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I will admit that I haven’t read through this entire thread, I did read a few pages but not quite the whole thing. Didn’t find the answer here, so....

I’m wondering if I’m washing film and prints using a dump method, like filling a Patterson tank 5-6 times and dumping it, by about the 2nd or 3rd dump can I reuse this water? Like on my garden or something? I know it’s fixer that I’m washing off, but surely it’s so diluted that it’s safe to put in a garden right?? I feel terrible letting it go down the sink.

You'd have no problem using old print-rinse water as a first rinse for your next film or print. If you store it, make sure to label it properly. I chuck my spent film and print wash water into a bowl then use it to flush the toilet; that way it goes down the sewers rather than down the storm drain. I wouldn't pour in on the garden though, it might contain minute traces of silver salts, which can build up in soil.
 

Philippe-Georges

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As we are off topic now, let's stay there...

Brazil nuts: why consuming imported food from an other continent (South-America) and neglecting the products grown by our own hardworking and hardly surviving farmers?
OK, the Brazil farmers must earn a living too, no doubt, but they might grow more common products for the intern market and have their own people better food at affordable prices?
Why transporting these goods for thousands and thousands of kilometers which is a proven environmental bargain (Diesel and kérosène)?

I am wondering and asking myself if I really should go on printing the analogue way, but is digitally printing that ecologically better?
Is the production of silver based photographic materials more or less ecologically acceptable versus the production of digital goods?
Silver is a heavy metal, thus a pollutant...

About 10 years, or more, ago, at the RIT I think, somebody calculated the environmental stress of the fabrication of different goods.
So he found out that producing a traditional automobile with the wight of 1 ton needed a total of 2 tons of all different goods: metals, liquids, chemicals, gasses, energy, etc... So 1 ton was so-called a waste, that's 1 on 2.
He also calculated that in order to have 1 (one) top quality computer chip made, 32 times its wight of materials was needed and a lot more of them had to be produced in order to select, that's 1 on 32. The rest, of less quality, being a small amount, was partially used in inferior processors and alike, who were far less lasting (thus becoming waste even quickly), and the residue was a waste for far over 50%.
So, I wonder, if we consider, by way of an exercise, an automobile to be "analogue" and a computer chip to be "digital", what conclusions can be thrown now?
I wouldn't consider the transportation of the finished goods (Europe made cars VS China made computers)...

These kind of questions are permanently considered over here in Europe!

I must admit being a 'little' confused...
 
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Have just processed 5 rolls of 120 film this morning and as I was washing them I started to think about the amount of water I use when printing and processing my B&W work.

Water restrictions are coming into effect yet again in South Australia this summer (and also over this past winter!!) and I want to reduce the amount of H2O I use as much as possible. I do use a print washer, but even then it seems to use copious amounts or am I imagining things?? :wink:

How do you wash your prints and films to use the least amount of water possible?
The Ilfordmethod saves a lot of aterbut is too slow for me. I leave the film in the tank and run he water for 10min at 1 filling /min. that isn't much more water than the Ilford method and takes just a little longer but is thouroughly washed.
 
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Does someone have a reference for the Ilford water change method? I can't find it on the Ilford site. Thanks!

Spiral tank processing method

For minimal water usage the following method is well tested;
• After fixing, fill the spiral tank with water at the same temperature, +/- 5ºC (9ºF), as the processing solutions. Invert the tank 5 times.
• Drain the water away and refill. Invert the tank 10 times.
• Once more, drain the water. Invert the tank twenty times and drain the water away.
• Finally rinse with a few drops of ILFORD ILFOTOL Wetting Agent (1:200) added to the rinse water.
 
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