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Amber plastic vs. amber glass bottles to store Developer

Bruce Karnopp , Sep 04, 2005; 03:17 p.m.

I have seen several suggestions that one should store developer in amber glass containers and not plastic one. I have a box of 500ml amber plastic bottles and another box of 250ml amber plastic bottles for Dectol and Xtol, respectively.

I have never had a problem with either since I get all the air out of the bottles when I store them.

Am I kidding myself. Since I got these at a drug store, I know these are for medicines that are light sensitive. My guess is that if they are not safe for developer, they must not be safe for our meds either.


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Randall Ellis , Sep 04, 2005; 03:32 p.m.

I think that the aversion to plastic is that gasses can pass through the bottle, where with glass, this does not happen. As always, I could be wrong...

- Randy

Ronald Moravec , Sep 04, 2005; 03:39 p.m.

Some plastics are gas permeable, others not. Experiment for 6 months and you will know. Put the paper developer in the plastic. If it screws up, you will not ruin any film.

Glass and good lids always work.

Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , Sep 04, 2005; 05:40 p.m.

Supposedly the reason for using brown glass had to do with it containing less soluble chemicals in the glass itself than clear glass, and had little to do with light. If you keep the bttles in a darkroom or store them in a cupboard or closet light wouldn't be a problem anyway. For years I used empty bleach jugs after they'd been rinsed out and allowed to air ou until the chlorine smell went away. That was back in the days when the gallon of bleach was often only 69 cents on sale but a brown plastic empty jug at the photo store was $2.98. Now I use soda bottles like Coke comes in. I figure the plastic can resist the pressure of the carbonation just fine so it's not going to let much oxygen through.

Dean Tomasula , Sep 04, 2005; 06:02 p.m.

Now I use soda bottles like Coke comes in. I figure the plastic can resist the pressure of the carbonation just fine so it's not going to let much oxygen through.
Have you ever had a flat bottle of soda? Let a bottle of Coke sit around unopened for a few weeks and see what happens. Plastic "breathes." That's why soda eventually goes flat and photo chemicals shouls always be stored in glass bottles.

Conrad Hoffman , Sep 04, 2005; 07:01 p.m.

Check out the bottle info at silvergrain.org

IMO, glass is still the best way to go. I don't know about soluble compounds in the clear vs. brown glass, and I don't think developer is very light sensitive, but it is certainly sensitive to oxygen. Fill the bottles with just a tiny airspace (you don't want them to break if the temperature changes) and cap securely.

Walter Degroot , Sep 04, 2005; 07:12 p.m.

inless bottle threads have changed, caps i got at a lab supply are ideal they even fit green wine bottles that originally had break-off seal aluminum caps. these caps were black bakelite? with a conical poly insert that wedged down and sealed the bottle. I got caps for gallon, quart and pint bottles. much to my wife's dismay, I still have them all. NEVER NEVER USE EMPTY OR RECYCLED FOOD CONTAINMERS. A FRIEND'S FATHER, A MACHINIST, PUT KERO IN A PEPSI BOTTLE AND WITHOUT THINKING DRANK SOME. what will kids do?

William John Smith , Sep 04, 2005; 08:08 p.m.

I store my developer, Rodinal, in a plastic bottle, seems to last for years. Being of the same generation as Mr. Kaplan I concur with his methodology. After all, most chemicals do come in plastic containers now days. I do mark what ever, "darkroom chemicals", just in case.

Michael Briggs , Sep 05, 2005; 02:53 a.m.

Very few photochemicals are light sensitive. Some exceptions are intensifiers with silver nitrate. Generally there is no particular reason to use brown bottles.

My experience is that developers last much longer in glass bottles than in the brown plastic bottlers that are sold for photographic use. Both cases with the bottle full. Dry developing compounds also last longer in glass bottles. This is because of the permeabililty of many plastics to oxygen, which will react with the developer. There are plastics that are relatively impermeable to oxygen.

Rodinal is famous for its longevity and so glass vs plastic is probably less important than for other developers.

Chris Waller , Sep 05, 2005; 03:15 a.m.

I keep old 2 litre domestic bleach bottles and wash them out for chemical storage. They are made of high density polyethylene and have air-tight, child-proof caps. Some plastics are permeable to oxygen so tests are necessary.I keep print developer in my bottles for weeks and have no problems. The other advantage is that plastic isn't as fragile as glass. Brown glass is used as it protects the chemicals against light which causes some to decompose.

I also use old bleach bottles for health and safety reasons. I would echo Walter's warning about using old soda bottles. All bottles holding chemicals MUST BE CLEARLY LABELLED.

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