It's a process that's been around for 75 years. Taking the silver out of film and re-using the precious metal. "You're keeping a valuable commodity out where it can be useful and also you are protecting the environment," says Bill Stewart, Manager of Rochester Silver Works.
The company used to be a part of Kodak. But, in October, the company went out on its own. They do recycle some film from cameras, but the bulk of business comes from x-rays.
"The largest piece of what we do now are x-rays and medical based films. There are also films that are used for industrial x-rays," adds Stewart.
Films are taken in from different companies around the world. Then they take the silver out of them and you end up with film pieces. They can be re-used inside textiles as filler.
"A lot of it is like carpeting, different types of textiles, sometimes it can be filler for seat cushions, etc., It can also go into cartridges and container type things," Stewart says.
The separation process takes place inside large tanks. Then the films are broken down into tiny pieces that can be re-used in a number of ways.
Stewart says, "first of all it's a waste to have all that silver sit back in landfills and not get used. It's a complete loss because it is a precious metal. Second of all, there is an environmental aspect to silver. There are certain allocations or allotments of silver that are allowed to go back into the environment because it can be a hazard."
For more information on Rochester Silver Works, click here