Film recycling is a challenge for companies who don’t have the knowledge or the process in place to protect their company. There’s a lot at stake when it comes to film. The material itself contains a wide variety of chemicals and toxins that are regulated by local environmental agencies as well as the issues at risk around client data and privacy. If you aren’t confident that you are protecting yourself and your company in how you are recycling your film records, you should take care to make sure you are doing it right. Here is some additional information about the process that you should consider.
Federal Regulations on Film Disposal
Medical film disposal is a federally regulated act as 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.
Recycling Done Right
Film recycling is an option for disposing of medical film 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:
Step 1. Separate paper from film and shred all PII from x-ray jackets.
Step 2. Grinders reduce film into particle flakes only a half-inch in size making the film unusable and the information contained within incomprehensible.
Step 3. The film particles are tested to measure silver content.
Step 4. Silver coatings are separated from film through a four-stage process of chemical burns.
Step 5. 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.
Step 6. The emulsion mixture is processed to allow the silver to precipitate and the water is then recycled.
Step 7. The remaining silver is roasted to ash and all traces of water and other impurities are removed.
Step 8. 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. Your clients are protected, your company is in compliance, and your future is secure.
If you find that your current film recycling process isn’t quite up to the level of care required for proper management, it’s time to call the experts at Happy Faces Records Management. We’ll talk you through the expectations and requirements needed for a more effective system that keeps your data safe and your film toxins out of the environment.