Old Kodak Report Tells You How Much Silver Is in Your Photographic Films and Papers

Do you own a photo processing lab with inventories of new and developed film, photographic paper, and developing chemicals?  

Those supplies contain silver that can be extracted and refined. How much silver? We just discovered a very useful report that can help you know.

A Fascinating Older Report from Kodak

Can you spot the silver in this photo of a photographer processing film and making prints? It’s everywhere: in the paper, the chemicals, and the film, and Specialty Metals can help you recycle it all profitably.

Can you spot the silver in this photo of a photographer processing film and making prints? It’s everywhere: in the paper, the chemicals, and the film, and Specialty Metals can help you recycle it all profitably.

Back in 1998, Kodak published a report entitled “Sources of Silver in Photographic Processing Facilities.” (Click here to download the PDF.) It dates from the time before digital photography became the preferred way of taking pictures, but it still contains useful guidelines about sources of silver in photo labs. It was intended to help high-volume photo labs – labs that were developing thousands of rolls of film a day – determine how much money they could recoup by recycling their materials.

The report still offers some great insights on extracting silver from film and other photographic materials. Here are some highlights . . .

  • Photographic papers and films are the biggest source of silver in photo labs.
  • Used photo-processing chemicals – the solutions that are used to develop film – also contain quantities of silver that can be recycled. It’s because those solutions remove quantities of silver from the films they are processing. That silver remains in the used solutions and can be extracted.
  • The tape that is used to splice photographic films contains silver too. The Kodak report states that this source of silver is “often overlooked.”
  • Different kinds of films contain different quantities of silver. The Kodak report states that 1,000 square feet of Kodak Gold Film contain four troy ounces of silver, for example, while 1,000 square feet of Kodak Royal Gold 400 film (a “faster” film with a higher ISO rating) contain only 1.1 troy ounces of silver. It takes a lot of rolls of 35mm film to make up 1,000 square feet; however, the report contains useful tables that help you calculate how many square feet of film can be found in films of different formats and sizes.

Silver is Used in Digital Processing Too

If you’re in the business of processing photos, think “silver.” Even in this age of digital photography, that metal is an integral part of printing photos. Valuable quantities of electrolytic silver flake could result. Also, recycling your used and unused chemicals and  papers to extract the silver that they contain could be a profitable activity for you.

Related Posts:

Why It Pays to Recycle Silver in Old X-Ray Films and Supplies
Let’s Get Wet: What Liquids Contain Valuable Precious Metals?
Why It Pays to Find a Refiner for Silver, the Forgotten Precious Metal