64  Photographic waste

The light-sensitive properties of silver compounds are the key to most photographic processes, and the basis of most of the waste produced.  Like the compounds of many other heavy metals, they are highly toxic, and classified as special wastes.  The high value of silver has for many years provided an economic base for recycling.

Several companies active in precious metal recovery provide a comprehensive collection and treatment service for all photochemical effluents as well as solids such as packaging, film, X-ray and lithoplates.  Service can be geared to all sizes of customer, and includes providing containers or installation of collection plant if necessary.  Payment for recovered silver can often exceed any necessary treatment or disposal charges. 

Never throw old cameras away.  Working cameras have secondhand value, and can be found at most camera shops.  By August 2004, thanks to the European Union WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive, you should be able to return broken cameras.  This website would recommend buying a camera that lasts, rather than purchasing a 'disposable', or single use camera; but 17.5 million SUCs are sold each year in the UK, and if you have one, they can now be recycled by Kodak.  

Digital cameras should, in theory, save on film (minimising resources and chemicals), as pictures transfer directly to computer, and you can choose whether or not to make prints.
Computers were supposed to save on paper too.  Try to make sure these desirable aims translate into reality!


Also see
Precious and rare metals (43)
Effluent treatments (95)

Alphabetical list of organisations

AWA Refiners Ltd

Web Site http://tecweb.com/awa/home.htm
Tel 01279 423743 Fax 01279 422243
Unit 10, Mead Industrial Park, Templefields, River Way, HARLOW, Essex CM20 2SE

Precious metal refiner - gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium; tin/lead alloy scrap; jewellery; computer, electronic, dental, and photographic wastes; reusable electronic components, telecom relays. Obsolete mainframe computers purchased outright or dismantling service offered. 'Reusable' department for PCs, monitors, and other electronic equipment. Range of solder alloys manufactured for the electronics, jewellery and plumbing industries. Free collection service in UK.

Betts Envirometal

Tel 01227 266677  Fax 01227 266699  
Email envirometal@bettsmetals.co.uk  Website www.bettsmetals.co.uk
Unit 2, Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate, WHITSTABLE, Kent CT5 3PS 

Operates three long-established refineries and treatment centres with up to date equipment to ensure the highest possible recovery of precious metals.  These include gold, silver, all photographic and print waste - fixer, developer, plate developer, solvents, ink, ink tins, blanket wash, X-ray film, aluminium plates. latest in recovery equipment which makes possible the smelting and refining of lower grade wastes containing precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium.  Trades serviced include jewellers, dentistry, silversmithing, photographic, potteries, electronics, glass silvering and bookbinders.  Also sells or leases silver recovery units to hospitals, printers and photo shops throughout UK.  The other two refineries are Betts in Birmingham and Stephen Betts in Kidderminster.  (Updated Jan 2003)

Church F J & Sons Ltd
Tel 01708 522651  Fax 01708 522786
Email traders@fjchurch.co.uk  Website www.fjchurch.co.uk  
Centenary Works, Manor Way, New Road, RAINHAM, Essex RM13 8RH

Buyer of used catalytic converters, gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium in all forms as well as tantalum, titanium, ruthenium, hafnium and other minor metals. Computer boards purchased (any quality or condition). Reusable department for PCs, monitors and other electronic equipment. (Updated Sep 2001)


Tel 01858 469001  Fax 01858 469002
Website www.edelchemie.com  Email  mail.uk@edelchemie.com 
Holland House, Valley Way, Welland Industrial Estate, MARKET HARBOROUGH, Leics LE16 7PS

Nationwide collection and processing of precious and non-ferrous metals and hazardous waste, particularly from photographic and printing industry wastes, including film processing solutions, film and paper; residues from on-site recovery operations; medical x-ray film; aluminium lithoplates.  Website lists waste types handled, some basic admin procedures, and directions/map.  Chemical photo waste may qualify for free collection.  Assists clients to reduce and segregate waste, maximise recycling and achieve most environmentally safe disposal.  Aims to minimise use of primary raw materials and avoid producing new waste products.   In-house treatment where appropriate, eg detoxification of cyanide-bearing plating chemicals, and partnerships with third parties.  Treatment may include mineralisation by pyrolysis, vitrification and chemical flue gas cleaning to cut emissions.  Collections and quotations can be arranged online.  Also operates in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.  (Updated Jan 2006)

J & G Metal Group

Tel 01258 453 445 Fax 01258 450 991
Unit 6, Holland Way Industrial Estate, BLANDFORD FORUM, Dorset DT11 7TA

Refining and disposal of all photographic/printing waste materials. Area covered - Greater London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Kent, Buckinghamshire.

JBR Recovery Ltd
Argentor House, Oldbury Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands B70 9BS
Tel 0121 525 1691  Fax 0121 553 3107
Email argentor@jbr.co.uk  Website www.jbr.co.uk
Contact  Alec Tiley, Managing Director

Processor of waste materials containing silver.  Recovers silver from photographic wastes, and incinerates specialised wastes.  Silver smelting and photographic waste management.  West Bromwich is the only office and operates nationally, sourcing silver from across the UK.  JBR delivers 240 tonnes of 999 silver each year, and refines silver for the London Bullion Market.  With G&P (see entry under Batteries), JBR is part of Recycling Services Group.  (Updated Apr 2003)

Just Refiners & Technology Ltd

Tel 01487 710477 Fax 01487 710484
32 Highgate Industrial Estate, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, HUNTINGDON, Cambs PE17 1RB

Reclamation of silver, gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium from process wastes (sweepings, slags, residues and solutions); plated scrap; electrical contacts; X-ray photo and lithographic films.

Kodak Single Use Camera Recycling Programme
Tel 01442 844245  Fax 01442 844384
Email ravi.khanna@kodak.com  Website www.kodak.com 
Contact Dr Ravi Khanna

Supplies and recycles single use cameras.  Free collection of all makes and models of single use camera from all manufacturers, from laboratories.  Cameras sorted, and most returned to respective manufacturer for recycling.  Box/bag and return labels provided.  The European Union WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive requires a minimum of 75% of cameras sold to be collected for recycling by 2004.  Kodak claims between 75 and 90% of single use camera components are already reused or recycled.  Advises against reloading single use cameras, as many defects and problems can occur. Kodak is working on a scheme to recycle components of all cameras.  Promoted on PIC website www.pic.uk.net  Also see US website above and type in 'recycling' in search box for more information, or go to http://wwwuk.kodak.com/US/en/corp/environment/kes/index.jhtml  (Updated Oct 2003)

Parkerdell Refining Ltd

Tel 01634 711115 Fax 01634 715542
Enterprise Close, Medway City Estate, ROCHESTER, Kent ME2 4LY

Nationwide photographic and printing waste disposal and recycling including silver recovery and refining.

Photographic Waste Management Association

Tel 0208 665 5395 Fax 0208 665 6447
Ambassador House, Brigstock Road, THORNTON HEATH, Surrey CR7 7JG

Trade association of specialist waste contractors, product manufacturers and distributors. Promote responsible management, recovery and recycling of photographic wastes.

Read Processing

Tel 01322 224430 Fax 01322 224430
Carrington Works, Fulwich Road, DARTFORD, Kent DA1 1UW

Collection and disposal of non-flammable photographic waste and recovery of silver.

Saxon Recycling

Tel 01223 839966  Fax  01223 839998  Email info@saxonrecycling.co.uk  Website www.saxonrecycling.co.uk  
Lion Works, Station Road, WHITTLESFORD, Cambs CB2 4NL

Chemical waste collection service for all types of photographic and printing and some healthcare wastes. Payment for fixing solutions, negative film, aluminium plates, silver.  Also collect plastics (eg HDPE), developer, blanket wash, ink, ink tins etc for recycling or disposal. Free labelled collection containers supplied. Recycling is core to the business, so resources managed to reduce waste, save energy, promote recycling and understanding amongst employees and customers, to avoid environmental damage.  Offers environmental audits, and can install automated bulk collection systems. Runs ink recovery and separation plant. Collects by lorry across the country. (Updated Oct 2003)

Silverlining Industries Ltd

Tel 0113 286 2323
Richmond Works, Selby Road, Garforth, LEEDS, West Yorks LS25 1NB

Chemical waste collection service for all types of photographic and printing wastes including fixer solutions, films, aluminium plates, developers, blanket wash, inks etc. Free collection containers supplied; recovered silver value credited to client.

Specialist Metal Services Ltd

Tel 01375 855000 Fax 01375 855005
Humeworks, Hume Avenue, TILBURY, Essex RM18 8DX

Precious and rare metal refiner. Gold, silver, and platinum group; tin/lead alloys and drosses; nickel and alloys; tungsten; molybdenum; cobalt; tantalum. Purchase PCBs and electronic scrap, dental and photographic wastes. National collection service.