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  1. #1
    digiconvert's Avatar
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    recycling photo paper

    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
    Hmm- Wonder if she'd notice if I bought that :)

  2. #2
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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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. #3
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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.
    Louie

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    Silver is a limited resource

    Quote Originally Posted by digiconvert View Post
    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
    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

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    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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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. #6

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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. #7

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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

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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/forum37/34804-forte-rc-vs-kentmere-fb.html

    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. #9
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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

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    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgK View Post
    in most recycling processes, there is a constant downgrading of quality in each round
    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!
    Louie

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