Whether you’ve inherited a stash of old photographs or you’re simply having a clear out, it is important that you do not put your photographs and negatives in your recycling bin unless you have checked it is okay to do so with your local council.
In most areas you will be asked to put them in the rubbish bin.
It is dependent on the actual images, but before you get rid of them you might like to consider some of the following options:
Pass them on…
- Could the photographs be of historical interest? Ask your local history society to see if they could be useful to their research;
- What about other family members, especially the younger ones? They might find them of interest in years to come…
- Are they photos of friends? They might like to keep them;
- Check the ads in local newspapers – look out for announcements along the lines of “We want your old photos”;
- Go online and see if there is any interest on sites such as Freecycle and Freegle;
- Make a collage using them.
About photographs and negatives
Kodak has a statement on its website offering advice:
Both types of modern film base (acetate and polyester) can be recovered, though the facilities for doing so may not exist in all locations. The economics of the recovery process, as well as the potential environmental impact, may make the transport of waste film over long distances impractical.
If local recovery is not possible, de-silvered film should be disposed of by incineration with energy recovery. If suitable incineration facilities are unavailable, the waste may be disposed of to landfill without risk of adverse environmental effects.
Waste photographic paper is not generally recoverable. Most papers are coated with a very thin layer of polythene to control water absorption and speed drying, and should not therefore be mixed with other waste paper destined for conventional paper recovery.
Waste photographic paper should be disposed of by incineration with energy recovery. If suitable incineration facilities are unavailable; the waste may be disposed of to landfill without risk of adverse environmental effects