If you’re working in a darkroom, you should know that those chemicals that you use should be properly managed. From the day you bought them to the day they are used up, you should always take good care of those liquids and powder. Read on to see how to safely store, manage, and dispose your darkroom chemicals.
Just like your neatly placed cameras on your shelf, if you are processing your own films, you also need to take care of the bottles of chemicals that you use. Make sure you are familiar with these safety tips below before you decide to pour that chemical down the drain!
How to store your chemicals
All chemicals must be stored appropriately. This means you need to properly label, place (off the floor) and store them in compatible containers. If you fail to do so, this might result in the following hazardous conditions:
- Release of potentially toxic vapors.
- Degraded containers that allow chemicals to become contaminated. (Some chemicals are able to eat through plastic containers over time.
- Degraded containers releasing vapors that can affect the integrity of nearby containers.
- Degraded labels that result in generation of unknowns.
So, to avoid all of the above, make sure you:
- Label ALL of your chemicals.
- Replace deteriorating labels before the chemical becomes an unknown.
- Write the date of the chemicals when they arrive.
- Use older chemicals first.
- Segregate the chemicals.
- Put a lid on all containers at all times, except when pouring.
How to dispose your chemicals
Everyone who uses development chemicals has a legal and moral responsibility to make sure that they properly dispose any hazardous waste that they generate during their processing sessions. Surely there are state and federal penalties from illegal disposal of these wastes. To avoid this, please follow the following rules:
- Place spent chemical into appropriate container. (Empty bottles that the chemical was originally stored in are best). DO NOT MIX CHEMICALS
- Label the container as “hazardous waste” and include the chemical name and the date on the container.
- As soon as the container is full, contact your local office for environmental, health and safety management to find out what you should do with these containers.
- Place a completed waste tag on the container.
Non-Hazardous Waste Disposal
- Developer (Hydroquinone solutions) may be poured down the sink; although pure hydroquinone should never be released into the environment.
- Stop Bath (Acetic Acid solutions) may be poured down the sink with running water.
- Again, check your local regulations on chemical disposal to make sure you are not breaking any laws.