What are spent photographic chemicals (SPC)?

SPC chemicals are used in dark rooms for developing x-ray film used in non-destructive testing and medical facilities.  The developing process requires the use of five different components; developer, stop bath, fixer, rinse water, and photo-flo.  Following the development of radiographic film, these chemicals must be contained and kept separate onsite for proper disposal.  

What do we do with the SPC?

Any individual or organization is required by federal law to properly manage and dispose of their SPC.  ALX INDUSTRIES LLC provides the transportation, precious metals recovery, and disposal of these spent materials according to federal and state regulations.  The spent materials are taken to the ALX INDUSTRIES LLC warehouse in Pasadena, Texas for proper silver reclamation. 

What is a precious metal? What is precious metals reclamation or silver recovery? And why is it important?

A precious metal is a rare and naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.  The best-known precious metals are the coinage metals, gold and silver.  These precious metals are often seen as hedges against inflation and economic downturn.  


Nearly all pieces of technology available today have small traces of at least one type of precious metal, such as computer chips, printers, and film.  The recovery process involves the removal of all traces of that metal from another object.


This recovery process is important by providing environmental and economic benefits.  


Why is silver considered a characteristic hazardous waste?

Silver displays one of the four hazardous waste characteristics, toxicity.   High concentrations of silver are toxic to aquatic life and people by way of inhalation and ingestion.  When the source’s silver concentration is greater than 5.00 ppm (mg/L), the source must be handled as a hazardous waste.  The photographic developing chemicals used to produce x-ray film contain high levels of silver and therefore must be managed according to the regulations set forth by RCRA.

Will my location’s spent materials be commingled with another client’s?

Every spent waste that is passed to ALX INDUSTRIES LLC is kept separate.  All containers are tagged to reference the individual client.  This is necessary for accepting wastes and taking the appropriate measures for tracking analytical data.

Can ALX INDUSTRIES LLC service my location onsite or do I need to transport the chemicals?

ALX INDUSTRIES LLC is flexible and will adjust the scope of work based on the client’s individual need.  ALX INDUSTRIES LLC has the ability to service and transport the SPC as well as accept drop off’s at the ALX INDUSTRIES LLC warehouse.  There are several factors to consider when deciding between the two options.  For example, depending on the size of operation, proximity to ALX INDUSTRIES LLC , and if the operation is mobile.  Ultimately, the decision is left with the client.

How is the cost of service determined?

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ALX INDUSTRIES LLC is a service provider and with any service provider the cost varies based on the scope of work.  ALX INDUSTRIES LLC understands that each project requires customized solutions.  Our pricing varies based upon the following:

  • Operational output
  • Services rendered
  • Distance
  • Man power
  • Equipment utilization & sourcing
  • Regulatory consulting

How often will I need ALX INDUSTRIES LLC to service my location?

The frequency of servicing depends on the operational output and accumulation limits based on the generator status and state regulations.  The servicing schedule can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.  The client will request the service from ALX INDUSTRIES LLC with at least a three business day notice – unless a set rotation has been established.  If the business is in a regular rotation then a call out is not always necessary.

What equipment and materials do I need to capture the SPC?

  • Sealable containers compatible with the waste.
  • Signage to indicate the spent materials being captured.
  • Utility pump to transfer the SPC from the truck or processor into an onsite storage container.
  • Secondary containment that is compatible with the waste having sufficient strength and capacity.

Is secondary containment required?

The answer to this question will depend on your state specifications, generator status, site regulations and/or company policies. Since the generator knowledge of SPC is that it’s considered a characteristic hazardous waste, it is best practice to implement secondary spill containment.  This offers an additional safe guard for the environment.

Will ALX INDUSTRIES LLC provide the equipment to capture the spent photographic chemicals?

ALX has the capability to provide the equipment and materials, along with the onsite set up to capture and store the SPC.

What is the value of silver?

The value of silver is based on the daily spot price.  This price varies from one day to the next.  The silver price is quoted for 1 troy ounce of fine silver.  There are various resources for tracking the silver exchange rate.  Click here to check the price of silver, along with other exchange rates.

Will I receive a silver return?

This will depend on the type of service rendered; the processing of SPC or the recycling of film.

SPC:  This depends on the contractual terms between the client and ALX INDUSTRIES LLC , the rate of silver, and the cost of service.  In the event the client’s silver yield has exceeded the minimum cost of service, a silver factor will be returned to the client in the form of a credit.  

Film:  This will depend on the type and quality of the film we are handling.  For example green film is unused and will yield a higher silver return, black film will yield a lower return, and clear film has zero value.  In addition to the film quality, our cost to service the film will be a factor.  The cost of service includes the transportation and services rendered such as purging needs.

How long will it take to be paid out for my silver return?

This will depend on the type of service rendered; the processing of SPC or the recycling of film.


SPC:  The spent chemicals must undergo precious metals recovery in order to determine the amount of silver recovered and then sold back into the silver market.  This entire process can range from 10 to 15 business days.  Following the sale, our clients are on a net 30 payment schedule  when a credit is warranted.


Film:  The quality control process, recycling, and the sale of the silver yield, takes between 7 to 10 business days.  The film must be removed from any filing sleeves and sorted prior to being recycled.  Additionally, the sorting process acts as a quality control measure to ensure that the film is in recyclable condition and no other materials are present.  Following the sale, our clients are on a net 30 payment schedule.