It may be true that we can get away with disposing silver down the sewers with little environmental impact, but I still think it is not responsible unless it is really necessary. There is so little mercury in batteries, for example, yet we are strongly encouraged to keep them out of landfills. I have only just recently begun fixing (and developing) again after many years not doing it, during which environmental awareness and understanding has increased.
Perhaps the silver ions get bound up with sulfide but that material gets deposited somewhere. Environmental leaching is much harsher than what a gallery print experiences. Further, microbes and invertebrates eat it and digestion can free up the ions again in the food chain.
An added reason to recover silver is the value of the metal. It is likely that the quantities we can recover can hardly repay us for our time as an economic activity, but if nothing else it appeals to my hobbyist side. I have researched a little about the electrical requirements and would like to design and make a simple solar powered recovery system, which would require only a small cell area I think (rough estimate less than a square foot).
So, dump your silver if you insist, but I think we can do better. Doing better would either be the responsible thing to do or it would be good PR by appearing to be responsible.
Last edited by Monito; 09-28-2011 at 07:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.