View Poll Results: what do you do with your spent fixer ?
- 62. You may not vote on this poll
pour down the drain
use metal wool / steel wool / aluminum foil, rusty nails, copper flashing or other materials
leave it out and let it evaporate
use an ion transfer unit / trickle tank
use a silver magnet / electrolytic unit
have a waste hauler take it away
take it to hazmat/household waste day
i have a lab do all my photofinishing
spent fixer poll revisited 3 years later
it was in 2009 that i made the original poll,
and i thought it would be interesting to see if things have changed in 3 years ...
you don't need to identify yourself or post any words in this thread it is just a poll ..
and if you have another method please feel free to mention it ..
Last edited by jnanian; 03-26-2012 at 09:57 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Ummmm ... You'd better remind us better than that, J.
"My" darkroom is at the university -- about 125 students developing film and making prints a semester, as well as myself. Used fixer is the only primary (dev, stop, fix, HCA) photo chemical that our world renown sewer treatment facility does not want down the drain.
We also have all selenium, dirchromate and ferricyanide compounds shipped off...oh, and Part B of Sepia Toner, also.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
i just take my used fixer to the college i go to and put it in their chemical waste disposal container. They have the chemicals taken away by a company to get it treated
The local authorities will not accept it. They also don't specify any rules for hobbyist darkrooms.
I lack room or an appropriate location for any of the on-site treatment options.
I do have friends that I have learned recently do use a steel wool treatment option, but they are a 45 minute drive away, so I only deliver it to them when my need for disposal coincides with a visit there.
If I had the room and the location to permit it, I would buy one of John's "Silver Magnets" in a heartbeat.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I called our city's sewer people and asked them, and they told me to just pour it down the drain. It seems weird that they would want the silver dumped down the drain though. Just to be on the safe side however, I just collect it and save it for hazardous waste day.
All you need is a 2 or 3 liter soda bottle, a ball of steel wool, and you can plate the steel wool with the silver in the fixer. This is what I've been doing for 10 years, nothing exotic. I add some steel wool each time I retire another half gallon of fixer, and the remains of the previous batch go down the drain. Someday I'll do something with the residue, perhaps give it to a local photo lab that already recycles. Must be a few dollars worth of silver in there.
I used to take my spent fixer to a local photo lab that would then put it through their silver-recovery unit. That was a great solution. Since then, the lab is gone and there are no other options locally with silver recovery.
So, I tried the hazmat route: I took gallons of accumulated used fixer to the local hazmat facility (Bend, OR). I explained to them it was used photographic fixer and should go to silver recovery. The goons working their just labeled it "used photo chemicals" and sent it God knows where. I'm fairly sure it didn't get to any kind of silver-recovery unit. Who knows what they do with it. I doubt it ends up being any better than just pouring it down the drain.
So, why bother...
My darkroom is connected to a septic tank system, but where I live is on the municipal sewer system. I now just take my used fix and dump it at home into the municipal sewer. I hope the 10 gallons or so I dump every six months is not a problem.
If I ever find a lab that will take it and recover the silver from it, I'll go back to doing that.
I bottle it in well labelled surplus 2l soda bottles and take it to the HHW site if there is another reason to visit there; it is a 20km round trip in a direction I don't head off to very often when they are open.
If there is not a reason to go and the fixer bottles are starting to pile up in the warmer months I evaporate it down to a crusty sludge. 4L takes about 3 weeks in the best sunny late sprong weather for me.
RA-4 Blix is the bigger hassle for me. It gets dehydrated too, mut is much ickyer to tidy up after.
zapped out toners get moderately dehudrated and handed in at HHW, or just handed in fully wet.
my real name, imagine that.
I dump all my used fixer into a 5 gallon bucket. All my film scraps, test strips and junk prints go into the fixer bucket.
After several weeks, most of the silver is removed from the film and paper. There is only a light brown, "ghost" image left.
Using rubber gloves, I remove the paper and film, put it in garbage bags and throw it out with the trash. I strain the saturated fixer then use a Silver Magnet to remove as much silver as I can. (Last time I ran it, I recovered almost an ouce of silver from 2 1/2 gallons of fixer.)
The left over, dead fixer is stored in plastic milk jugs until Haz-Mat Amnesty Day. I scan the label off the fixer bottle into my computer, print it out and stick a copy onto each of the bottles before turning them in. Things like selenium and sepia toner get dumped in jugs and turned in to Haz-Mat Day, as well.
In two years, I have generated about five gallons of waste that can't be flushed down the drain. All of it has been or will be turned in for collection.