Best Plastic for Chemical Storage

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ParkerSmithPhoto, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    I recently discovered that some of my bottles were "Type 7" plastic, not suitable for storage. Everything that went in them went bad: Dektol, Fixer, it all turned brown. I finally caught a clue and dumped them in the trash.

    My wife was throwing away one of those large, liquid laundry detergent containers which is "Type 2" high density. Is this what the big 5 gallon bulk storage/floating lid containers are made of? Is this okay for fixer, developer, all of it, none of it?

    BTW: I did search the archive first!
     
  2. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    High Density Polyethylene, or HDPE, is a fine choice for developer, fixer, etc. Most fixer and developer solutions will go bad eventually, regardless of container. Be careful with the type 7 containers. Some might react with photo solutions and fail prematurely.

    Best,
    J
     
  3. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    I use soda ottles marked PETE. They have worked very well.

    Howard Dvorin
     
  4. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    OOPS-You all know that I meant BOTTLES and not ottles.

    H
     
  5. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I use Fiji Water bottles. They are square shaped and hold 500ml, also 250ml water bottles. Larger bottles are Jobo 1000ml, 1500ml, 2000ml and 2500ml sizes.I also have a set of Jobo 600ml bottles for color chems.
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    This is the key. The problem with plastic is that the chemistry inside sucks oxygen right through the plastic. Glass pays for itself.
     
  8. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    BTW - yes all the commercial bottles sold for darkroom work seem to be HDPE. It makes zero sense to me. The accordion bottles are even worse (thin at the corners, trap bubbles, made from HDPE), I use glass bottles that I bought from SKS bottles. They are great and my chemicals last a long time.
     
  9. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well Dektol and D76 shows no visible signs of oxidation or loss of activity stored in 2 and 4 liter PET bottles for over 12 months. RA4 prints processed in Kodak RA4 developer stored for ten months in PET and from mixed yesterday show no differences. I'd say the 2 liter generic soda bottles hold their own fairly well. :smile:
     
  10. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    I bought $200 in brown glass bottles with nylon cone insert caps. Never have a problem. Clear glass works fine if you store in the dark or in a box. It is debatable if dark is really necessary, but I never tried myself.
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    My Polymax and T-Max developers certainly last that long in partly full PET soft drink bottles.
     
  12. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Parker,

    Plastic 1 or 2 bottles will work fine. Glass is best, but if you really need the difference, your problem is not the bottles, it simply means you aren't making enough photoraphs. ;>)

    Neal Wydra
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    To OP:

    My concern would be if the bottles made for laundry detergent would have a tight enough cap to prevent air intrusion. All of my bottles are type 2 and developers keep at least for 6 months. Try capping it and squeezing hard on its side.... I have seen D76 and Dektol suck oxygen so hard that pretty hard plastic bottles collapse on their own....
     
  14. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Your observation is exactly right. Many concentrated developer solutions are also sold in HDPE bottles. This is crazy.

    When I had Silvergrain darkroom products in the market, I strongly pushed for PETE packaging, which was rejected by the business end. Some of the jugs were fluorinated HDPE but it costed more and also not as recyclable as PETE or plain HDPE. Glass is best, PETE is not bad, but HDPE is only good for stop, fix and anything not air sensitive.
     
  15. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    It would seem that industrial packaging is designed for short shelf life, not longevity. Makes sense that they want the product to have the shortest life possible from a sales aspect. I respect Ryugi's desire to package in the best container possible, his desire for top quality is admirable, but unfortunatly, bad business as far as selling more product.
     
  16. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    I wonder if everyone is giving correct answers, but to different questions. If we interpret the OP's question to be 'Hey, I need to know what kind of containers are suitable for storing developers and fixers for the couple of months officially recommended by Kodak in their publication Black-and-White Darkroom Dataguide', then pretty much anything from HDPE to depleted uranium is just fine. The convenience and manageability of the ubiquitous non-tippy brown HDPE bottles with write-on yellow labels is hard to beat. But if we interpret the original question to be 'Hey, I am planning to develop only occasionally and I need to store my chemicals for a really, really long time and I need to know what kind of containers will provide maximum barrier properties', then it makes sense to look at other container materials. Personally, I am from the school that believes that there are enough factors beyond the photographer's control, such as ill-timed blinks, pesky cloud cover, pesky sunshine, frozen batteries, frozen humans and entropy generally, and therefore it makes sense to work only with freshly mixed chemicals or something very close. But I understand that this is not a luxury not available to everyone, so I have enjoyed learning about what other folks are doing in situations where extended shelf life is essential.

    Neal, your second sentence pretty much sums up life. Good on ya, as they say.

    Best,
    J
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2011
  17. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    Just goes to show you learn something new every day. Thanks for the info guys. I have been using HDPE but now I'll switch.
     
  18. lensmagic

    lensmagic Subscriber

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    I originally took the writer's question to be asking about flexible walled plastic that a user could express the air from the container by pressing on the sides of the vessel, thus evacuating air from the vessel. My guess is that developer solutions oxidize more quickly from the contents of a partially filled vessel than from air passing through the exterior of the container.
     
  19. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    I was really just interested in making up a big batch of fixer and using that old detergent bottle to store it in, but everything else I have is amber glass, so I'm just going to add to that collection. Plastic just keeps burning me.

    Darkroom chemistry is much prettier in a brown glass bottle anyway. That being said, the one liter green Apollinaris (sparkling water) bottles are a good solution, too.