The majority of photographic prints made by Ag are no-ink, continuous tone genuine photographic prints, and made on Fujifilm paper. Arguably, Fujifilm make the most sustainable photographic paper in the world – not only when compared against no-ink silver halide paper manufacturers, but also against all inkjet and dye sublimation paper manufacturers.
The factories of FUJIFILM Tilburg, where the paper is made, are 100% powered by wind energy. The company has a waste water treatment plant on site where the waste water is purified together with four neighbour companies. Also the company focuses on waste reduction and turning waste into valuables. But above all, FUJIFILM photographic paper is FSC® certified. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) defines standards for sustainable forest management.
The processing of both film and paper in our photo lab requires the use of photographic chemicals. Over the last 30 years photographic chemistry has been continuously reformulated and refined with the environment at the forefront of manufacturers priorities. Ag handles photochemistry in a responsible manner and uses the latest chemical formulations. Waste with the most significant potential environmental impact, is spent fixer, as it contains silver which is recovered, see below.
We currently use photochemistry from the following manufacturers, all of whom have extensive environmental and sustainability procedures in place.
C41 film process – Fuji Hunt
Part of Fujifilm, Fuji Hunt offer the finest quality photochemistry, rigorously quality controlled, it’s simply the best and when processing precious customer’s film, there can be no compromise. As would be expected, Fujifilm have some of the strictest environmental standards in place. Over the years Fujifilm have wedded themselves to exceeding legal environmental standards, regularly eliminating chemical components even when there is no legal requirement to do so. One such example would be the elimination of boron in Fuji products, which still remains in some formulations from other manufacturers.
E6 film process – Fuji Hunt
Fujifilm, as per C41.
Black & White film process – Ilford
Synonymous with the world of black and white, naturally, we feel Ilford offer us the perfect partner for B&W film developer. Based only a few miles up the M6 motorway from us, we know the business and the principles of the company well. They have always been a company conscious of their sustainability obligations.
RA4 paper process – Tetenal
One of the oldest names in photography, Tetenal is based in Germany and subscribes to the highest levels of sustainable production that manufacturing in Germany has become well known for.
We leverage the value in silver so as to ensure zero heavy metal waste
Silver is the single most environmentally challenging by product of traditional photo processing. Technically, silver is a heavy metal. It causes problems if it enters water treatment plants. But at the same time silver is a precious metal, valuable (one of the reasons photographic film and paper costs what it does – it contains a lot of silver) and at Ag we leverage this value in order to ensure zero silver waste. Silver enters the fixer bath during both film and paper processing – unexposed areas of the film or paper (for example, shadow areas in negative film where there has been little exposure) and thus spent fixer becomes hazardous waste. Therefore, all silver-bearing waste is retained in containers and collected by a certified waste handler who extracts and refines the silver and safely neutralise the remaining waste with no environmental impact. Our waste handler has been refining silver and other precious metals for over 300 years and handles silver recovery for the likes of Kodak, the NHS, Rolls Royce Plc and many other leading organisations who demand a clean bill of health when it comes to waste management.