RECYCLING FOR PHOTO PROCESSORS
Photographers, photo processors, and photo shops handle a number of chemicals that could pollute the environment. In addition to responsible management of these wastes, these businesses are required by law to comply with certain disposal guidelines.
IDENTIFYING HAZARDOUS WASTES
The federal government regularly updates the official list of hazardous wastes in the Code of Federal Regulations. Waste is determined to be hazardous based on the following points:
The chemical is flammable or combustible. These materials often
have alcohol contents above 24 percent or flashpoints below 140
Materials can burn the skin or corrode metals.
Liquids with pH levels falling outside 2 to 12.5 are
Unstable materials that explode or react violently when
in contact with water or other chemicals.
Toxicity: Materials containing certain heavy metals, like silver, lead, or mercury.
Identification of hazardous wastes is important to managing them responsibly. Be knowledgeable about the materials and chemicals onsite by reading product labels, talking to suppliers, and viewing federal regulations.
Consider that some materials become hazardous after being used due to contaminants.
HAZARDOUS WASTE SOURCES
The following common chemicals and products, which may be hazardous, are often found in photo shops. Some of the materials may be collected and reclaimed or recycled.
liquids and fixers often used to develop or set photographic
images may contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.
for film and workstations may be flammable or otherwise
developed, photography film contains high levels of silver.
Though negatives, once developed, can be disposed of or
recycled, they should be treated to ensure the removal of all
Many shops use
silver recovery units to reclaim spent silver from film during
batteries, button batteries, and lithium cell batteries may be
used or collected by your facility.
Many of these batteries contain lead, nickel, or mercury,
and should be recycled and handled as hazardous waste.
Water used for
washing prints of chemicals or cleaning silver recovery units
should be specially handled and disposed.
Cloths and paper towels that are contaminated with processing chemicals should be disposed of separately or cleaned without discharging the water into regular sewage systems.
Hazardous wastes must be managed properly at all stages of its use.
Keep wastes in
separate, approved containers; corrosive wastes should not be
stored in metal containers.
evaporation must be prevented in storage.
Containers must be kept closed with no leaks or ruptures.
containers labeled, and provide a special handling label that
gives the accumulation date for all hazardous chemicals.
records of hazardous material shipments and receipts.
Also record inspections, training sessions, spills, and
any chemical testing that takes place.
Do not store drums outside, where they are susceptible to storm water. All containers and drums should be emptied and free of hazardous waste when disposed.
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