How to Effectively Extract Silver from Used X-Ray Films

Pritam Nagrale

Updated on:

extract silver

There’s a lot of money to be made by extracting silver from used X-Ray films. Before I tell you how to go about it, there’re two important things to bear in mind.

Extracting silver from X-Ray films and other diagnostic products isn’t a home-based business you can start with little investment. And secondly, with digitalization of X-Rays and other diagnostic procedures, it’s fairly difficult to find used film and other such products.

This might bring you to the question, why should I extract silver from used X-Ray film?

Reasons to Extract Silver for X-Ray Film

extract silver

Silver is one of the precious metals that’s also traded on the commodities exchange worldwide. We know that silver is used for making jewelry, coins, forms a part of dental fillings, rolled into wires for high-conductivity and for making pots, pans, decorative items and lots of other stuff.

Just in case you’re unaware, X-Ray films and other diagnostic material also uses a lot of silver.

Some such silver-rich diagnostic products also include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) film
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan film
  • Mammography film
  • Radiographic film
  • Graphic art film
  • Non-destructive testing film
  • Silver traps including silver canisters and silver recovery cans
  • Filter solution from which silver hasn’t been recovered earlier

You’ll require an abundant supply of these raw material to effectively extract silver using the methods I’ll describe now.

Steps to Open Silver Extraction from X-Ray Film Business

The most common way to extract silver from X-Ray films is by using the electrolysis technique. Let’s see what you’ll need to do in order to set up a silver extraction business.

Also Read: How to Recover Gold

Check Availability of X-Ray Film

As I mention earlier, X-Ray and other diagnostic procedures are now digitalized. Hence, few hospitals, diagnostic centers and clinics actually use X-Ray film or other physical diagnostic material. Therefore, the first thing to do is check whether an abundant supply of such material is available in your area.

Unless there’s plentiful supply, your investment on setting up a silver extraction unit can go waste. Also check companies that collect hospital waste for X-ray film and other material I mention above. It’s worth going for a silver extraction business only if there’s abundant supply.

Sign Contracts for Raw Material Supplies

Hospitals, diagnostic centers and other similar facilities aren’t merely going to give away X-Ray film and other diagnostic products. You’ll need to sign contracts with these healthcare providers or with a medical waste collection company to get used X-Ray film and other diagnostic disposables.

Some of these suppliers might also ask for some advance payment or fix a rate for supplying these used diagnostic products. Therefore, be ready to sign contracts with these suppliers. Since you need steady and consistent flow of raw materials, contracts are essential for success of your silver extraction business.

Get Government Licensing

Silver is a precious material. And silver extraction has various industrial classifications. It comes under precious metals trade category. And in some countries, silver extraction business is known as hazardous industry.

Therefore, procuring the necessary licenses is absolutely necessary. Operating a silver extraction business sans permits and licenses can land you in serious legal problems. Check with local authorities about what licenses you require.

Additionally, you’ll also have to register the business itself. You’ll also require licenses to buy the chemicals necessary to effectively extract silver from X-Ray film and other similar material.

Register Your Premises

The next step is to register your premises with appropriate authorities. You can refer to excellent online resources on how to register your business and premises to ensure it’s legit.

That’s because some states and countries don’t allow units that use chemicals or recycle stuff to operate in specific zones and areas due to environmental and other safety concerns.

This means, you’ll have to be extra cautious while selecting the premises for your silver extraction business. The unit would have to be located in an area where licensing is possible and easily available.

Never attempt to set up a silver extraction unit in your backyard or garage or shed, since it’s illegal and attracts stiff penalties.

Buy Silver Electrolysis Unit

This is the main piece of equipment you’ll need. There’re various kinds of silver electrolysis units available in the market.

I would recommend you opt for the latest ones, since they offer higher silver extraction rates. A good unit can cost anything from $6,000 to $100,000 depending on the size, capacity and make.

Furthermore, you’ll also require hypo, caustic solutions and other chemicals that’re commonly necessary for running a silver electrolysis and extraction unit.

To buy these, you’ll require a license from the concerned authorities. Read the specs of your silver electrolysis and extraction machine carefully to order the right chemicals.

Find Customers for Extracted Silver

And finally, you need to find customers that would buy the silver you extract from X-Ray film and other similar material. You can find several companies that’re willing to buy the silver you extract, provided it meets their various standards and specifications.

Check online for such companies. Usually, you’ll find all the specs of the silver they buy on their website.

Usually, every buyer will assess the quality and purity of your extracted silver before making an offer. And they’re also free to reject your silver if it doesn’t meet their standards.

Therefore, learn about these standards and get your silver and silver assay quality certified independently from a metallurgy lab before approaching any buyer. They’ll definitely ask for the lab report, before verifying independently.

Tips & Tweaks

Here’s an important tip to help effectively extract silver from X-Ray film and other material. Find out which types of X-Ray film have higher volumes of silver. This helps save a lot of time, effort, power and chemicals on silver extraction process.

Since extraction of silver from X-Ray films is a full-blown industry, sellers including hospitals are also aware about which products sell for higher rate. Hence, you might have to pay these suppliers, if you’re really serious about the business.

Prices of Extracted Silver

As precious metal, silver prices also rise and fall according to demand and supply and lots of other factors. Usually, the money you’ll make depends upon market conditions.

Some buyers offer a fixed price while others will agree for variable pricing. Hence, most people that extract silver tie-up with both kinds of buyers since it ensures steady income.

In Conclusion

Before concluding I’ll repeat that effective extraction of silver from X-Ray films and other diagnostic products isn’t a home-based business. Instead, it’s a good business that you can start with minimal investment. And it’s an evergreen business that can earn you good income round the year.

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