Film is an interesting record format. It’s made up of a variety of materials and chemicals that make recycling film records interesting, to say the least. Medical film, in particular, presents several challenges in proper disposal, from patient security to toxin management. If you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to film recycling, you can do real and lasting harm to the environment and to customers. Neither of which will make your business look like the professional and trusted organization you need to be. That’s why so many of our customers turn to us at Happy Faces Records Management to help educate them on proper film recycling processes and to help them achieve their goals of film disposal and customer security.
Here’s what you should know about film recycling, and just why it’s so important to work with an expert.
Film Recycling Done Right
Film recycling is an important option for disposing of records in a way that both protects the information contained within and the environment at the same time. Happy Faces has been providing film recycling services for the medical industry for more than 20 years. Our process meets both EPA and HIPAA standards for disposal and management of these sensitive documents. Here’s how we do it at Happy Faces Records Management:
First, we separate any paper from the film and shred all personally identifiable information (PII) from x-ray jackets. Then grinders reduce film into particle flakes only a half-inch in size making the film unusable and the information contained within incomprehensible. From there the film particles are tested to measure silver content. Silver coatings are separated from the film in an additional four-stage process of chemical burns. Next, the emulsified silver and other coatings are sent to settling tanks. Plastics are then cleaned and sent to recycling companies for reuse in clothing and packaging.
The emulsion mixture is then processed to allow the silver to precipitate and the water is then recycled. The remaining silver is roasted to ash and all traces of water and other impurities are removed. The ash is then smelted until the silver liquefies and cast into ingot molds to cool. The final product is then sent to silver refiners for further processing. This highly detailed process ensures that the film is disposed of in a secure and environmentally friendly manner, while silver is recycled and sent out for reuse.
Film Toxins and Why They’re Harmful to the Environment
Medical film disposal is a federally regulated act in part because most x-rays and film contain silver. Silver is toxic to microorganisms which are the foundation of the natural food chain. It is very important to prevent silver film coatings from seeping into groundwater, streams or rivers to prevent toxins from contaminating fish and water supplies. For these reasons, film must be properly handled and disposed of to avoid any negative environmental impacts of its use and disposal. It is the responsibility of record holders to ensure that their film is disposed of in a safe and effective manner. Which, as you can see is a lengthy and detailed process. But it can make a big difference to the environment and to the customers as well, which is why it is so important.
For help effectively managing your own film disposal, connect with a Happy Faces Records Management representative today. We’re here to help you get the job done.