March 27, 2018

Silver Recycling


Ok, let’s get down to it… The main benefit of extracting silver from any medical, dental and lithographic film is purely economic. Recovering silver from x-ray and other types of photography by-products is a big business these days and you could make some good top-up money from it.

These are the typical medical films that may contain silver:

Medical X Ray Films
Non Destructive Testing Film
CT Scans
Fixer Solution, used and unfiltered with silver recover unit
MRI Film
Graphic Art Film
Mammography Film
Silver Traps like Silver canisters, Silver recovery Cans

In most imaging by-products, silver may be present in different forms: as insoluble silver halide, a soluble silver thiosulfate complex, a silver ion or elemental silver, depending upon the type of process and the stage at which it is recovered. Recovering silver from photographic processing solutions has incredibly improved in the past years, and the recovery rate is now as high as 98%.

How to effectively extract silver from x-ray films

There are several effective methods to extract silver from x-ray films and other medical and image-related waste such as ultrasound, pictures, photographic films and plates.

Silver can be removed from imaging waste using fixing bath. A typical example is immerging the products in a thiosulfate complex, which is water soluble and from which the silver can be recovered electrolytically. The residue wash water, although low in silver content, can represent an important source for recovering more silver if a high volume of scrap x-rays is treated.

Electrolysis is another technique commonly used. With this method, an electrified stainless-steel container pulls the silver towards itself. The silver is then stripped off the container and the product that is left can be sent for further refining. After this step you should be left with silver which is 90% to 95% pure.

Sometimes chemicals can be used to extract silver from x-ray and similar products. In this case the refined silver will form a sort of sludge which will be dried and refined further.

Since x-ray films are made of chemicals that are coated onto a plastic film, that plastic can also be recycled during modern chemical processing. There is not much value in that plastic, but still recycling it can have a general beneficial impact on the environment.

Is it worth recovering silver form x-rays and similar imaging products?

Because the costs of industrial x-ray films are constantly increasing, it is now more important than ever to recover the precious metals that these medical and imaging by-products contain. With this regard, it is also vital to ensure your company is receiving maximum returns for your waste fixer, waste films and other silver bearing waste. Recovering silver form your medical, dental and lithographic film is a great way to pump some extra cash into your business with little effort.

At All Waste Matters we can count on the very latest equipment to take care of your silver recovery. We can arrange a free sample to be independently assayed to check for precise silver concentrations; our current analytical contractor is Southern Water with analytical reports available on request.

We can also supply the most state-of-the-art equipment for on-site silver recovery.

These silver recovery units can be plumbed directly onto your industrial radiography machines and allow for treatment of waste fixer to be carried out at your premises, eliminating any current storage issues as silver concentrations will be vastly below even the most stringent discharge levels.

The initial outlay for these silver recovery units can quickly be recouped due to the high grade silver recovered, which we can also refine for you.