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  1. #1

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    How to dispose of exhausted C-41 chems?

    Hey all, my first C-41 kit is nearing the end of its usefulness and I'll need to dispose of the chemicals soon, that includes the developer, blix and stabilizer. My photo club has jugs for recycling b&w developer and fixer, but I don't know if I should just dump my C-41 stuff in there or somewhere else. What do you folks do?

  2. #2
    mts
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    Your fixer can definitely go into the club jug, and likely the developer as well. I believe that blix can be put there as well because it contains Fe-EDTA bleach that is not particularly toxic. The stop can go down the drain and straight bleach disposal goes according to manufacturer's directions. I believe Kodak states that Fe-EDTA bleach can go into the waste stream, but perhaps PE can give better advice on that. Mainly you want to avoid putting silver into a waste stream, and C-41 fixer or blix contains far less metal than b&w chemistry. The organics in developers oxidize well in waste stream processing. If you are using current chemistry your stabilizer does not contain formalin and can go into the waste stream as well because it is only a wetting agent.

    If you happen to be on a septic system, then you should look more carefully at the volumes you are disposing as you don't want to disturb the flora and fauna in your waste tank. If in doubt, then take spent chemistry to an environmental disposal facility. In my county (US/New Mexico) the environmental facility (a.k.a. the dump) accepts chemical, electronic, and appliance waste for recycling. Chemicals, paint, solvents, etc. must/should be labeled to save the expense of testing. Here there is no charge for residential customers.
    By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo

  3. #3

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    I forgot to say that my kit was a Unicolor kit. I very well may be wrong, but I think that the stabilizer does have formaldehyde. I only have 1L of each chemical, so it's not all that much. I might be OK dumping some of them down the drain then? Interesting, I'll wait for some more responses to see what they add. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Dilution is the solution to pollution.

  5. #5

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    take it in marked jugs to your haz waste disposal center
    or find a local mini lab that will process it with their waste
    don't dump it --- no one needs more photochemicals in their waste stream

  6. #6
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    I haven't lived in Vancouver for almost 20 years but here in Ontario I take it to my local hazmat disposal centre. They're actually excited to get something really juicy like formalin-based stabilizer, ferricyanide bleach, selenium toner, etc. Normally they just get boring batteries and paint cans...
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

  7. #7

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    Dear Dr.Pain-MD,

    In Chicago we have several sites that collect hazardous waste from hobbyists. This site might help you find a local place to take your chemicals. (Apologies if you've already checked this out.)

    Neal Wydra

  8. #8
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    All the local material I have been able to find on the internet indicates that if you intend to deal with a waste disposal service, it must be a private, for profit one (no doubt for a fee).

    Here is a link with information about many of those for profit entities: http://www.hazwastebc.com/Hazardous_...abilities.html

    This link from the regional district's site ("Metro Vancouver") provides a "Code of Practice for Photographic Imaging Operations (which) sets out the requirements for managing Non-Domestic Waste discharged directly or indirectly from a Photographic Imaging Operation into a Sewer or a Sewage Facility.".

    http://public.metrovancouver.org/ser...s/PhotoCoP.pdf

    This is, of course, oriented toward businesses. I find it interesting, however, that it seems to only restrict 'down-the-drain' disposal of "Silver-Rich Solutions".

    Those are defined as: "“Silver-Rich Solution” is a solution containing sufficient silver such that effective recovery can be done either on-site or off-site. Within photographic processing facilities, such solutions include, but are not limited to, fix and bleach-fix solutions, stabilizers, low replenished (low-flow) washes, and all functionally-similar solutions. It does not include low silver concentration solutions such as used developers, bleaches, stop baths, pre-bleaches, and stabilizers following washes and wash waters."

    From this I infer that, as far as Metro Vancouver is concerned, commercial photographic labs may simply dump into the sewer system "used developers, bleaches, stop baths, pre-bleaches, and stabilizers following washes and wash waters."

    Personally, I would phone Metro Vancouver with information about the quantities you have in hand

    EDIT: Emphasis added
    Last edited by MattKing; 10-24-2011 at 04:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “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

  9. #9

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    I think the key words there are non-domestic, meaning a business, also this is a schedule of a bylaw, so you have to read that first and see what Section 5.2 is all about.

    From http://public.metrovancouver.org/boa..._Bylaw_299.pdf

    Page 3

    “Domestic Waste” means
    (a) Waste produced on a Residential Premises, or
    (b) Sanitary Waste and wastewater from showers and restroom washbasins
    produced on non-residential property;
    Last edited by Bob-D659; 10-24-2011 at 04:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Bob

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Bob:

    I don't disagree.

    I referred to that information because it appears to be the only source of rules applicable to our area that deals with photographic processes and materials.

    There appears to be nothing in place (in our area) that deals with home darkrooms. All of the local "hazardous waste disposal" resources available to individuals appear to be material specific (if your material isn't on the list, they won't take it) and photographic chemistry isn't on the list.
    Matt

    “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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