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X-ray films are highly beneficial tools for making medical diagnoses. As a patient, you may have requested a hard copy of your x-ray film, or you may have found yourself with a copy of your x-ray film for a variety of reasons. However, after months or years down the road when you no longer require a copy of your x-ray film, you may be finding yourself wishing to dispose of it. But is disposing of x-ray film as easy as simply throwing it in the trash? In this article, we take a look at how to safely dispose of old x=ray films, so you can make sure that yours are not damaging the environment.

Should I Keep My X-Ray Film?

While you may no longer have a use for your old x-ray film, you might have found yourself wondering if you should keep it anyway. Is there any legal reason for you to be keeping your x-ray, or is it yours to handle however you please? explains why it’s best to check with your doctor before disposing of your old x-ray films:

“Check with your doctor about whether you should keep your X-ray films. Before you do anything with your X-ray films, you should check with your doctor to see if it is important for you to keep them. There may be medical or legal reasons as to why you should hang on to them. Additionally, your doctor may be able to recycle them for you, ensuring that they were properly and legally disposed of.”

Recycling X-Ray Film


X-ray film can be recycled for its silver content. However, this will not be achieved by throwing them in your curbside recycling bin. Reach out to your local recycling facility to enquire as to the various recycling options and services offered in your state, as well as local drop-off alternatives.

The Organised Housewife tells us more on the recycling process of x-ray film:

“X-ray films contain silver in the form of halides. X-ray films can be processed in a refinery where they are heated in temperatures over 1,000 degrees celsius. The silver is extracted and converted into a pure silver form. The extracted silver is used to make jewellery, electrical components and parts in utensils.”

Disposing of X-Ray Film

Although x-ray film is recyclable under the right conditions, it cannot be thrown into your curbside trash. X-ray film will quickly end up in a landfill, unable to be broken down overtime. The silver that is included in x-ray film is also toxic to the environment, making this item an environmental hazard. explains the make up of an x-ray film:

“… the main ingredient of the x-ray film is PET plastic, and it is coated with the rare earth mineral which is the actual precious metal called silver, so putting the film in the trash means you will put PET plastic and silver in the trash.”

We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, including how to correctly recycle your old x-ray film, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

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