View Full Version : Used Photo Chemical Disposal in Wicklow/Dublin

Rafal Lukawiecki
05-13-2010, 01:52 PM
Ballyogan Recycling Centre have refused my delivery of a very small quantity of a spent Kodak developer, fixer, and toner. :( I have been successfully taking my used chemistry to them for quite a while, with their prior permission (see my old thread on the subject here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum237/46005-disposing-photo-chemicals-ireland.html) but apparently things have changed at Ballyogan.

I have corresponded with the local environmental officer and the Wicklow County Council have been quite unhelpful even suggesting that producing a few litres of a dilute fixer in a calendar year amounts to a very commercial activity and so I should hire a proper disposal company! Their household hazardous collection takes place only twice a year anyway. I got an email from them full of ALL-CAPS-COMMENTS-ABOUT-BEING-COMMERCIAL as if I was some kind of a felon. Yikes.

Since I have a septic tank (lovely lower slopes of the Little Sugar Loaf) I am not going to pollute this part of Ireland. But what should I do? How do you get about disposal? Any local advice from Dublin or Wicklow would be much appreciated. Thanks.


05-13-2010, 02:28 PM
Other than possibly the toner, the stuff is pretty harmless in such minuscule quantities. Wash it down the sink and sleep well.

I don't think I'd bother with permission in the

Vincent Brady
05-13-2010, 03:59 PM
Dealing with Local Authorities and especially the environmental officials is best avoided in Ireland. They always seem to come down on the individual and let the big companies run rings around them. As Mike says for the small amount produced by one person there is no need to worry.

05-13-2010, 05:44 PM
I'd let the water evaporate in a protected place outside and throw the hard deposits in the trash. But I'm not sure about the evaporating bit in Ireland. :)

BTW there are probably a thousand threads here about disposal of used chemistry, have a good read. :)

05-13-2010, 05:51 PM
I cannot believe they won't take it at your hazmat roundup! Stuff like this is exactly what the roundups are for!!!

If they are going to be putzes about it, go down to their office and dump your effluents on their lawn and/or flowers.

In all seriousness, I would chuck everything down the drain (well diluted) but used fixer and toners. I would get a silver magnet or trickle thingy from JNanian (a fellow who posts here on APUG), and then dump the fixer after treating. Until you get this thing figgered out, I would go the evaporation route with toners. Get a bug cage or fish tank with a screen top that will keep critters out, and let it sit outside on dry days. No need to remove and trash the remaining crust and toss it. That pretty much defeats the point anyhow. When you convince them to come to their senses, you can mix the crust back in with water and dispose of it that way.

Mike Wilde
05-13-2010, 08:30 PM
I have a hazmat depot that very happily takes my wastes. It is a bit of a trip to drop it off though, and I usually only go there in the spring or fall when I have yard waste to drop off and not wanting to to cut every thing to 24" long bits and put it out in tiny bundles.

So through the winter I take fixer as it becomes saturated with silver, and add it to an evaporation pan that lives in the garage. The evaporation pan I have is a stainless steel food services warming tray that came from the thrift shop for $1. It is about 8" wide, 4" deep, and 24" long. The liquid likely lays frozen in it for a good part of the winter. It sits on top of an upright freezer that rarely runs, but in the spring, between the heat of the freezer and my wife parking her car there each night, the stuff gradually evaporates. By mid april, when yard clean up begins for me, the fixer is a yellow crust on top, and a sludge underneath. 5 or 6L of fixer is down to about 1L of fixer sludge. I pack it in a bottle, label it as silver rich fixer, and take it to the HHW.

I have an associate at a camera club on a septic field who decants exhausted rapid only fixer slowly thorough ( at a rate of a few litres per day) a cascade that includes two large coffee cans he has packed with uncoated steel wool pot scrubbers. It yields an output that is only trace silver, and he uses the ammonia leftovers to go in the watering can, to fertilize the garden.

Developers I dump in a bucket with a fish tank bubbler, and run it until they are black to cut thier Base Oxygen Demand (BOD). I then make them neutral by mixing in paper stop bath that is tending to exhaustion itself. I could give up Dektol and go with Ansco 130, because I love its look, and it lasts almost forever. It turns black, but if you run it at a few degrees warmer than 20C the glycin developing agent goes on and on, and developing times are closer to 2'.

Toners can to some degrees be reused. The chrome bleach from sepia toners can go on for a very long time being reused until it looses its orange and starts to green. I save up waste test strips and work prints to drive it over the edge to full green. The chrome is much less nasty once it is green, then it goes to hhw labelled as to what it is. I use the sulfide toners (kodak sepia) in the summer when venting is easier, and thoirea ones in the winter. The copper toners and iron toners I leave in jugs and turn in; I have dehydrated them as well to cut volume.

For selenium I use KRST at 1:20 and 1:8 and use it after prints have had a short wash, and the solution goes back into the storage bottle. It seems to go on forever this way.

I hope some of these ideas can help you out.

Rafal Lukawiecki
05-25-2010, 04:52 PM
Thanks, everyone. I like the evaporation idea a lot, but in Ireland I would be waiting a long time for a dry day, I suppose :) I wonder what would they say at the collection centre (only twice a year in my locality) when I deliver a thick crusted orangey sludge... I guess I will have to try and see. I will also see if Louise at John Gunns in Wexford St might be willing to take sludge etc if I promise to buy more film from her. :)

I was very attracted to the idea of JNanian's simple silver recovery technique, but I never quite found anyone interested in taking the silver-rich sludge off my hands in Ireland...

When I lived in London, I was just told to put everything in my regular home drain. The local authority (borough of Ealing) proudly told me that the facilities of Thames Water would easily cope with non-commercial quantity of photo chemicals including spent Selenium toner. I guess septic tank is a very different story.

Thanks - and if anyone in Wicklow or Dublin has found another route, please let me know. Otherwise I will be evaporating.

05-25-2010, 05:33 PM
hi rafal

you will end up with a rather large ( 30-32 troy oz ) chunk of silver flake
the the remaining tailings will be about 50 parts / million and can be
reduced to 3 or lower using a ionic transfer
( steel wool, copper flashing if you do it on your own, or a tickle tank if you buy it )
there isn't much silver rich sludge after that ;)

i will try to find someone in ireland that can refine the silver ... and get back to you ..