recycling photo paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by digiconvert, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    One reason I like film is the lack of built in obsolesence and thus its slightly smaller environmental impact. I just wondered if it's OK to put RC or FB paper in the paper recycling. Obviously Silver is a pretty poisonous metal so I don't want it in landfil but I also want to avoid screwing up the recycling centre.

    Any ideas ?

    (Moderator- please advise if you see fit to move to another area, thanks)

    Cheers ; Chris Benton
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Silver is not all that poisonous. After all, it used to be used in our coins and it is used in tea and coffee sets as well as in tableware. The salts in photographic materials are so insoluable that they are almost totally harmless as well.

    Powdered silver and silver salts have served as antisceptics in some cases.

    Direct injestion of a soluable silver salt will burn you more than poison you outright, but it can act as a poison in high enough concentration.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the occasional sheet of photo paper or even a roll of film.

    PE
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Agree with PE - silver is generally not welcome in water supply systems, but in its metallic form, its relatively innocuous.

    Putting waste paper into the recycling stream is always responsible. My sense is that fiber based photographic paper can be recycled, but it would be prudent to get an opinion from someone who is far more familiar with the chemistry of the recycling process. I know that some recyclers discourage attempts to recycle coated papers (glossy magazines - you know, Playboy, etc). The issue is separating the reusable cellulose fibers from the coating.

    RC papers are another matter altogether. While I suspect that it would be theoretically possible to recycle this material, I also would guess that stripping the paper away from the polyethelene coating might be a real challenge.

    Frankly, in my house we generate a bin full of waste paper every two weeks mainly from the newspapers we get on the weekends and all the preauthorized credit card applications that come in the mail every day. By contrast, I probably don't produce a bin of waste photographic paper in an entire year. So while recycling waste prints would be a noble thing to do, it actually is a very small fraction of the potential for recycling in a typical home.
     
  4. j-fr

    j-fr Member

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    Silver is a limited resource

    In Denmark, where I live and work, photographic films and paper, undeveloped as well as developed, is considdered chemical waste and handled as such. The silver is recovered and the price for the silver is subtracted from the payment for the handling.

    As silver is a limited resource and a valuable metal it should not just be trown away.

    Under no circumstances should photographic paper be mixed up with ordinary paper for recycling.

    j-fr

    www.j-fr.dk
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    j-fr, I agree, I also agree with Louie, but see the comment at the end of my post.... I said occasional sheet of paper! I don't think that throwing a 100 sheet box of 8x10 in the trash bin or recycle bin is really a good idea.

    PE
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Recycling paper is generally a good idea, but your local recycler may not be able to handle the RC stuff. The resin coating resists the process many use to break down the paper, and it also becomes a nasty contaminent in the recycling brew. It is so inert, though, that there is no danger to putting in in landfills except for the space it takes up. FB paper can be broken down and handled, as far as I know, by all the commonly used processes. I agree with the others that the silver in paper is not a problem in landfills.
     
  7. GeorgK

    GeorgK Member

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    Chris' question hits one of the biggest problems in collecting "private" waste for recycling. Many people are over-motivated, and pollute the collected materials with completely inadequate waste. Also, when one has to throw away a lot of stuff, it is often cheaper (and easier for the conscience), to put it in the recycling bin, instead the regular waste bin. This then results either in high costs to sort the wrong stuff out, or in very low quality and disminished value of the collected material.

    As usual, simply use your common sense. The collected paper is used to produce new paper, mainly low-quality paper and cardboard (in most recycling processes, there is a constant downgrading of quality in each round). So, a photographic emulison with gelatine, silver salts, other chemical compounds, all on a plastic or barium-sulfate coating might not be helpful.

    In general, if you are not sure that something is approbiate for recycling, throw it into the waste bin.

    Regards
    Georg
     
  8. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    Yeah quicksilver (Mercury Hg) is but I don’t remember anyone use it any longer in photographic process.
    However it had been used in a making of Daguerreotype as kind of vapour to develop the image with. I have never heard any one died of silver poisoning.

    It’s a rumor and it’s coming from that silver is a limited recourse and they recycle! Not because its dangers, because it’s money. Recycling is good by any means. It’s save our recourses for future generations

    I have heard arguments like this before from Digitalists whom try to declare their lock of knowledge of photography in general that all chemistry is dangerous to your health used in the photographic industry. Even there were a guy told that he rather drink mercury than silver! According to my knowledge it would be very difficult to do that either you melt it down or dissolve it in anther agent like acid but I don’t had to tell you the outcome because in the other day you told me that you have
    “Yours C J Benton B.Sc (Hons) Applied Chemistry M.A (Education) !!” On one other thread to be more ecxact here http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=34804

    Now I’m really worried about your students shouldn’t you warn your students about of those other really poisonous metals or materials instead scaring them to deth with silver? And of course tell them do not to consume a large quantities of silver to breakfast!

    You know what is a poison? It’s me Uraniumnitrate
     
  9. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Our used film and paper is recycled...

    here at the university. We use to get 10 cents a pound for it, but with the low silver prices, it just gets picked up for free now (shipped 275 miles to the big city). I do not know if the recycler recycles the paper after stripping the silver out of it.

    vaughn
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    This is an important concept that is not widely understood.

    As paper is recycled, the cellulose fibers are damaged - broken - and become shorter. As a result, the paper product that can be made from recycled pulp is physically weaker, for a given paper weight, than the original material.

    Most recyclers tune their processes on the assumption that their feed stock will be mainly newsprint and office bond paper. You know, the stuff from those "paperless offices" we were all promised 50 years ago!
     
  11. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    Yeah, I mean what we are talking about here is a good quality paper have might have some 3g silver per square meter? I mean if it were poisonous as our friend telling to us with the Bsc in applied chemistry than probably I’m very sick now everywhere but mostly in my head! :smile:
    But I do know people died in cancer working with Asbestos.

    By the way it's only low when you sell but much higher when you wanna buy. Isn't it? :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2006
  12. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    Of course you right and I know that but at least the thing is around for a while and it's might just save some trees in our forest.

    About that office I think it would take another 50 years! :smile:
     
  13. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    Congratulations Uraniumnitrate, you are the first person I am putting on my Ignore list. I am tired of the argumentative nature of many of your posts.

    Now if that was an attempt at humor, I am sorry. Please realize that humor and frustration/anger are often very hard to communicate correctly through email and forum postings. Your language barrier may be hurting you in this aspect.
     
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  15. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Silver in photo paprer is present as chloride or bromide not as metallic silver but the processed paper contains metallic silver. Silver has been seen to be toxic ;
    "Toxic effects of silver have been reported primarily for the cardiovascular and hepatic systems. Olcott (1950) administered 0.1% silver nitrate in drinking water to rats for 218 days. This exposure (about 89 mg/kg/day) resulted in a statistically significant increase in the incidence of ventricular hypertrophy. " Source US environmental agency.

    OK the quantities in a sheet are minimal and the levels of exposure by a photo lab worker will be low but as with most landfill materials the problem is that 1 million people dumping a little bit leads to quite a chunk of stuff. The ingestion of small amounts by organisms low down the food chain may lead to increased levels higher up the food chain (think DDT).

    My query was basically can you recycle photo paper, my view from this is that RC papers need to be binned but FB papers MAY be OK in small quantities-guess I'll have to ciut down on wastage .
     
  16. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME ! (sorry for shouting )
     
  17. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    You don't mean serious that you compare silver nitrate with DDT or asbestos! Do you? And the quantity is so low that that non cases of poisoning with any form of silver ever reported no where according to my knowledge..
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Silver nitrate was used for many years as an antiseptic and is harmless on the skin. Consuming silver nitrate creates silver chloride in the stomach and nitric acid. In the throat, the acidic silver nitrate is roughly equvalent to dilute nitric acid.

    The mixture of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and silver chloride in the stomach could be lethal, but just the two acids would be lethal due to the power of that mixture. Sodium nitrate consumed in quantity is not good either. The silver chloride in the stomach would not be readily absorbed by the body through the intestines as it is quite insoluable.

    I just wonder what they were really testing?

    PE
     
  19. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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  20. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Both the chemicals you quote are now considered lethal. However I remember playing with asbestos cement cut off pieces as a child, it wasn't considered a risk then ! My point is that what we do today may have unforseen consequences tomorrow. You need to lighten up a little, you are among friends but you need to avoid making enemies :D
     
  21. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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    I really don’t mind some enemies as it’s impossible to have just friends! That would be an ideal.
    In philosophical terms the ideal cannot be achieved. Otherwise yes there is materials which we didn’t know that were hazardous for our health and it would be in the future too and we made those! But, some materials where around us so long that there is aren’t any paradigm which can be applied any longer. Yes it’s possible to feed mice with silver but would any man consume silver? Clean silver which again do not exist never did ,could cause harm in a large quantities and with every day consumption because its not oxidize. Small amount mostly disappears from the human body by oxidation. This does not occur if it’s mercury. There are differences between metal and metal. Also I would consider classify all man made materials which is not fund in nature as lethal. Specially those harmless E 125 or E 262 they putting into our food or a lot more other stuff! I’m more worried about those than silver!
    And all argument discussion is good as I seen it! It's results are progress and development!
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    I forgot above. Colloidal silver is applied as a salve to the skin of badly burned people and also to those with road burn from motorcycle accidents. It has been used on massive injuries to large areas of the body on open wounds with no significant problem.

    PE
     
  23. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    A very interesting topic, I'd wondered about it myself for a while. Living on a farm I hope to do the most environmentally friendly thing I can. When I started out I was told exhausted fixer could be damaging to ground water as a concentration of silver halides, but I hadn't heard too much about recycling papers before. I'll set all my waste papers aside for now, and see what I can do with them.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    collodion has been used since the 1800s for medical purposes, and is a componant in products sold "over the counter" in drug stores like "new(nu?) skin" and in fingernail paint ... but if you use it straight it will burn your skin ...
    if you are in disbelief, go to your local drug store and you can get some and feel it burn. just be careful, it is flamable, you may feel woozy from the ether and is very dangerous

    people here on apug (you can search the topic) have suggested that because selenium is found in sea water/ naturally in the environment and as a dietary supplement that it is harmless and it a lot of bs regarding how toxic it is or that spent fixer+other photochemistry are harmless and should be sprinkled on your front lawn as fertilizer.

    just because something may be used for different purposes-in a refined state doesn't mean it is harmless or good for you ... not sure why people would say these things, seeing that it is illegal in many places to dump photochemistry, silver nitrate is corrosive and can blind you, selenium is toxic ... :confused:
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Silver compounds, and the metallic silver they are very quickly reduced to, has been shown to have antiseptic propertes. That means they kill bacteria. That's why it's used on burn victims, who are very infection prone with the loss of the natural skin barrier.

    That is also why used fixer is bad for the soil: It kills bacteria which are necessary for a healthy soil.

    EVERYTHING is dangerous in too high a concentration. How much exactly is "too high"? That varies with what it is - many elements are vital to life in small concentrations, and lethal in higher concentrations. Like Selenium...
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Dilute, unused, fixer, bleach and blix are similar to the commercial plant fertilizers. Blix and bleach contain Iron, useful to many plants for growth. But they are all too concentrated for use this way. They would have to be considerably diluted to be useful.

    Aluminum Sulfate is used as a hardner and also is used on soil to acidify it. Carbonates and acids are added to pools to adjust pH, and chlorine, bromine, copper salts and surfactants are added to kill algae and bacterial.

    The key is use at the proper concentration and avoidance of injestion, but even these are variables that move all over the map.

    PE