Friday, May 30, 2008

PROF'S POSER - Recycling old photos

From a question to the site as to whether old photos could be recycled:

I didn't know, though I had some fair ideas.

No toxins as far as I am aware, but some possible heavy metals (Silver? Though that might just be in the negative. There might even be value to it, though not to you. But a recycler might find some). Not enough I wouldn't have thought to upset a kerbside paper recycler.... How wrong can I be!

Times - Can I recycle old photographs?

Assuming they know better, and by your question I'm guessing you care enough to err on the side of caution, here's the skinny: No. Much like wrapping paper and the Yellow Pages, photographs cause problems at paper mills. In this case it is the chemicals used in the paper and the thin layer of polythene that coats a photo to stop it going wrinkly when it dries. These are classified as contaminants and clog up the recycling process.

Hence, for reuses, you could do worse than some here: How can I reuse or recycle … old photos? (nice site)

Just... make sure you are prepared to let them go! I'd suggest keeping the negatives!

Interestingly, and in the spirit of archiving our past, I did stumble across this from a council:
Recycling - Family papers or photographs

Might be worth asking your local?