Only a decade ago, film photography seemed to be dying as more and more photographers turned in their old film cameras and went digital. Then about five years ago, people started to set aside their digital cameras as they took more and more of their snapshots on phones.Read More
Even though film and other analog photo supplies are selling at a tiny fraction of what they were in the pre-digital age, those increases are significant. Since film photography is highly reliant on silver, does that increase mean that silver will be in greater demand, and trading prices will rise? It could be. Whenever demand increases for a commodity that is in a fixed supply, prices for that commodity rise.Read More
Over the last century, all kinds of media – for audio recording, video recording and the recording of still images – have consistently been replaced by new media that have been better in one way or another. And every time something new hit the marketplace, large quantities of the old “stuff” got tossed away, got sold at discount prices, or was snapped up by collectors. So, where can you find silver in obsolete media?Read More
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
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.