Medium Format Forum

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Home developing and saving the planet


Hi Guys,

Waiting for some prints to dry, I read though the environmental safety information supplied with my last remaining bottle of Agfa Rodinal developer and was horrified to see the warning that the product "could cause lasting damage to the environment".

What do the rest of you do to dispose of spent developer?

Can we assume that the sewage sytems can cope with the small levels of pollution produced by the ever dwindling number of us who still develope at home?

Is there a suitable and economic means of handling this?

Regards to all!


I can only say something about the situation in Europe.
Here we have special centres where small amounts of chemical substances can be brought free of charge to be disposed of in a sensible manner.
Hi Paul,

Agreed, (I'm in Europe too - France) we have similar arrangements, so I'll try taking them some spent developer next time around.
I'll be asking them what they do with that sort of thing!

I had started developing film some 40 years ago, and I think we all poured the waste down the sink at that time. Now I'm wondering if everyone takes their spent developer for waste disposal? My guess is that 90% of us continue to pour it into the sewers. Please Guys tell me I'm wrong!


The same goes for batteries.
I must confess I do not allways bring them back to the shop or a similar point where they are accepted as waste.
Gives some food for thought how we all are polluting the environment by taking pictures.
One thing is for sure Hasselblad equipment belongs to longest lasting and is therefore a low source for pollution.
Opposite end are disposable cameras.
I never liked those things.

In San Francisco, the dump (SF Recycling) will accept small quantities of photo chemicals. By "small", they mean no more than 15 gallons per day. That's really quite a bit. The first time I went there they asked me to write on the bottles in the future if it is fix or developer. Apparently they will even process it differently depending on what it is.

Get in touch with your recycling facility, and see if they will accept your chemicals. Of course, things are different in Texas (where I am right now!) than in SF where there are 3 Priuses (Prii?) on my block and where people recycle paper, cans, bottles, foodscraps. Plastic bags are banned from grocery stores. In Houston there are more Hummers than Priuses on the road and recycling is pretty much a foreign concept. Don't get me started on the subject!

Good luck!


Oops, you must be wondering why I'm talking about Texas... I should wait for the caffeine to kick in before writing emails! I saw your name "Gerard Morris (Austin)" and thought you lived in Austin, Texas. My mistake! I realize now you live in Nantes, France. Not the same.

Although I was born and lived in France until I was 25, that's a while back and I don't know how things work there anymore, but if you call "la décharge", they should be able to tell you if they can recycle your chemicals. I hope they do, there's some nasty stuff in what we're using in the darkroom. Selenium toner is probably at the top of the list.

Bonne chance,

Gerard, good question. While I have no idea about such waste disposal for photographic chemicals, the great thing today is that we actually stop and think about these things now.

Now I wonder what my lab does with its film processing chemicals! ?

10 or 20 years ago, we never gave waste disposal a thought!