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  1. #1
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Proper Disposal of Flexicolor Chems.

    What's the proper way of disposing of old color chemicals? I obtained some slightly depleted color chems. from a local lab that changes them more often than they have to. Once I'm done, what's the correct way to dispose of these? I have developer, fixer and bleach.

  2. #2
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    The simplest way would be to take them back where you got them, for disposal in their normal waste stream (which I presume and hope is via suitable recycling or destruction, rather than into drains or landfills).

    Failing that, I've heard of folks leaving the chems in pans or similar to evaporate, then disposing of the resulting powder at community haz-waste pickup days (when the local waste authority will take in things like old cans of paint, car batteries, etc., usually without the surcharges that would apply for disposal of those items with regular household trash). You could probably do the same with the liquids, if your haz-waste takes liquids (some don't).

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    Donald is correct in saying that if you get the used chems from a lab, they should take them back as they were going to dispose of them anyway.

    I just flush my C41 and E6 down the toilet. I rang the local EPA and they told me small amounts (like the 500ml I mix up to develop 10 films) will not make any difference at all in the grand scheme of their chemical treatment plants. It'll just be part of the millions of litres of gunk they process each day to turn back into safe stuff.

    The same EPA guy mentioned I should use the toilet rather than a basin, as the dilution will help to prevent harmful effects on any sewer pipe lining.

  4. #4
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    My local sewerage company told me that anything under 5 litres, "in total" per week is considered to be a non issue.

    They did ask just what it was and when I replied B&W, C41, E6, RA4 etc, they didn't bat an eyelid.

    The only thing she said was that if I was doing Cibachrome (her words) I should mix all the baths together to neutralise, then flush down the toilet.

    Mick.

  5. #5
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Good to know, I however, have the issue that I'm not on public sewer; we have septic.

    I'm assuming that the lab probbly will take them back.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend putting anything photographic down a septic. You do *not* want to be the one who messed it up, when someone has to be paid to stand chest deep in sewage and clean it out...
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  7. #7
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    I've worked for a couple different studios and labs over the years and each one that did even a modest amount of work (ie at least a dozen or so rolls of film a day plus the prints to accompany them) had a silver recovery unit. For small personal darkrooms and labs it's not really worth it, but most labs will have one- so the idea of taking the used chems back is the best. The labs I've worked for have all had contracted companies take care of the silver recovery units and from what the techs have told me it's the silver that is really the most harmful part of the chems. After the recovery unit did it cycle on the chems they were in turn routed down the drains.

    Now a word on that. The two larger companies that I have worked for are large national companies that have gone through the epa and the right channels to find out the correct way to do things (or so they claim) and they both had the same practice when it came to chems. Plus- the fact that they were both in malls and the massive amount of water being put through the sewage system all the time probably diluted the chems at the slow rate that they were introduced.

    So, all in all taking the chems back seems like the most logical way of taking care of them. Besides if it something they are supposed to get rid of it wouldn't screw up anything on the business related end of it. You'd just get to be a middle man!



 

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