Fellow Orchidites: Having recently closed my business, which was
a gallery and a manufacturing workshop I have had the
responsibility to dispose of our 24-year accumulation of platinf
solutions and acids. Nitric, Hydrochloric and Sulphuric acids to
be specific. All of the plating solutions contain Cyanide. The
first thing I id was to call the local recycling center, which
has a small business collection program. That’s when the alarm
went off. I was informed that this huge center, which takes in
tons of paints, hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals only can
accomodate an intake of ONE PINT of acid or cyanide A MONTH! I
have an accumulation of approximatly 5 gallons. The only
alternative is to have a hazardous waste disposal company remove
the waste. Estimates range from U$1500 to U$2000. The shocking
realization I’ve had is that as easily as I aquired these
chemicals I never obtained any education as to their disposal.
And I’ve been in this trade for over 30 years. Worked at a dozen
different shops, large and small, in several countries. NO ONE
ever went to any trouble to dispose of the wastes. Most flushed
them down the drains or put them, as I did, in sealed containers
in the back rooms. Guess where all those chemicals are going to
go when they find out the expense & trouble required? I am going
to work out a monthly schedule to slowly dispose of this
accumulation, pint by pint, through the hazardous waste program.
I hope. What troubles me is that here in the Bay Area, a downtown
jewelry center building, has recently gone ‘condo’ and has given
notice to over 35 jewelers to move out. The recycling center will
My question to you all, especially those with chemical
backgrounds, what methods are used to dispose of or negate acids
and cyanides? Are there recycling programs in your areas to deal
with these dangers? What solutions do you use?
Please…any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.