Question regarding recycling chemicals

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cinetango, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    Dumb question....
    I just finished building my first darkroom I was wondering if the fixer and the stop chemicals can be reuse? Or do I discard them after I finish enlarging?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Raul
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Dump the stop after it's exhausted, but you can save the silver out of the fixer when it's done. See the sticky at the top of this page for more info on that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2012
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you are using a commercial fixer the capacity should be given on the label or instruction sheet. It is usually given in the number of 8x10 sheets per liter or gallon. Keep a record as to the number of sheets processed after each darkroom session and discard the fixer when the capacity has been reached.
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    You can reuse your stop and fix. If you get in indicator stop, use it until it turns purple then dump it. You can reuse your fix too. Get some hypo check to see if its exhausted. If drops turn cloudy, turn it in to a recycling center. Don't dump it down the sink because its a heavy metal.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    You can reuse Stop Bath until the color changes from yellow to purple, which means the Indicator tells you that it is at the end of its life.
    Hypo can be used until the number of film rolls or square inches [cm] has been fixed. When hypo takes twice as long to clear film as it did when the hypo was fresh, it is time to dump the hypo. Hypo check is another way to see if the hypo is exhausted.
     
  6. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Developers are usually one-shot. Dump them down the drain using plenty of water to dilute and wash it away.
    However, check the manufacturer's instructions. Some are reusable and/or replenishable. If it is, save it. Otherwise, dump.

    Stop baths are reusable. Many have indicators in them to tell you when they are used up. Usually yellow/purple. It starts out yellow then turns purple when it's used up.
    "If it's yellow, then it's mellow. If it's blue, then it's through."

    Fixers are usually reusable. Again, the manufacturer will tell you.
    A good rule of thumb is to put some film in a fresh solution of fixer and time how long it takes to completely clear the film. Remember that time. Then, when the time it takes to clear the film gets twice as long as it did, originally, it's exhausted.
    Store it away until you can dispose of it properly or, better yet, recover the silver first, then dispose.

    Other solutions like wash agents, wetting agents and fixer neutralizers/removers vary in their reuseability. Manufacturer's instructions, again.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Developers are one shot only if they are diluted. Reusable developers include D-76, XTOL, ... if used as stock solutions. I prefer Kodak XTOL replenished for fine grain and smooth tonality. There are other developers that can be used replenished.

    Pyros are one shot developers.
     
  8. cinetango

    cinetango Member

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    Thanks for all the quick replays
     
  9. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You're right. I use both, XTOL and D-76 but I usually dilute them. Thus, they are disposable. However, if not diluted, they are not disposed until they are used up or need to be replenished.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    After my fixer is exhaust I drink it!:tongue:

    Jeff
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You must be turning blue by now! :wink:
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey raul

    where are you located ?
    there is a great chemical system called sprint system of photography.
    it is a system meaning the stop indicates ( from yellowish to purplish )
    when everything is exhausted, not just the stop bath.
    the chemicals are liquid concentrate stock and mix easy !:9.
    if you can't find them locally they can be purchased right off their website

    http://sprintsystems.com/

    their developer ( film ) is sort of like d76 and id11 but a bit different
    and i believe it is metol free.

    good luck !
    john
     
  13. mfohl

    mfohl Subscriber

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    I just dump my stop bath, but I collect the fixer and take it to the the "Household Hazardous Waste" collection center in Columbus. The silver in the fixer is not good for the environment. I've heard that it's not really an issue in the quantities that amateurs use, but I take mine in anyway. Fixer and selenium toner. I have known some folks to extract the silver from their used fixer. It can be sold, but I don't know who buys it.
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey there

    there is a plastic bag included with every magnet sold, it has an address on it and is a refiner
    who weighs out the silver and gives users about 90% of the spot price * the weight of the silver on the cathode.
    in canada there is also a refiner and in the uk that both work with magnet-users ( and i am sure anyone else who has silver to sell )
    the thing that makes the magnet easy is that it isn't just a sludge mixed with other stuff, but its silver that is electroplated onto
    a cathode, so it is pretty pure ... if you look in the business listings / yellow pages near where you live under electroplaters
    or refiners, you might find a place near you that would be interested in the extracted silver from your fixer ... you won't get rich
    but after a while it might pay for a few boxes of paper or rolls of film or maybe gas for your car ...

    good to hear you have a "waste-plan" :smile:

    have a nice new year !
    john
     
  15. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    When I started to work on color paper at Kodak in 1971, we were just switching to the bleach-fix process that required Ag recovery be made using Fe cartridges, because the Fe became part of the bleach-fix. Many photofinishing labs were't happy about this means of Ag recovery because the recovered flake Ag from the electrolytic Ag recovery used with the previous process fixer was 'off the books' and 'was their retirement fund'. The Fe cartridge recovered Ag had to go through a refiner and thus was 'on the books' for tax purposes.
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I wait until my fixer bucket gets about half full. 2 or 3 gallons, more or less. Each time I run the Silver Magnet, I get approx. 30 grams of silver.
    (31-point-something grams to the troy ounce.)

    At the current price of silver, that comes out to almost $1 per gram.

    No, you won't get rich but it is certainly a worthwhile pursuit.