UPDATED: Sustainability within Analogue Process

Because I am grateful for all of the beauty this planet provides, I am making a conscious effort to be more sustainable in my photography processes:

After fiddling around with these little film canisters within the past couple of days, I realized I left them out of this list. So, I wanted to add them. Then after rereading this post, I found a few typos which are now corrected. The new stuff is in bold.


  • Individual 35mm roll canisters, these plastics containers would normally get tossed out unless some creative ways are found to reuse them - here are a few suggestions:

    • storage containers for beads; jewelry findings; nails & other small hardware pieces; coins; artist paint

    • create a hole in the bottom (or the lid and put objects of various weights inside), attached to wire structure to make a mobile; add fairy (string) lights, if you want

    • I'm going to paint the few that I have in a shimmery gold/sliver, fill them with treats/trinkets and hang on the christmas tree - using as gift boxes/"stockings"

    • cover with paint/wallpaper/wrap in fabric and glue/wire a bunch together for a 3D wall art

Check out the web or other photography blogs for more ideas; Feedspot (not a paid affiliation, but which I'm on) has a list of top photography blogs.


  • Repurpose unusable negatives

    • scratch designs on the emulsion side then print using an enlarger

    • burn sections of the negative for special effects and print with enlarger; please take all safety precautions if you plan on trying this, I haven't yet since I don't have adequate facilities

    • I have seen a picture of where rolls of film were made into a lamp shade

  • Replace the use of Stop Bath with a water wash

  • Increase use of "Caffenol" home-made Film Developer

  • Use powdered chemicals instead of liquid, making plastic containers obsolete

  • Eliminate single rolls of film for reusable cassettes and bulk film

  • Use of RC paper to reduce amount of water and developer needed

  • Reuse printed/exposed photo paper (that won't be used as final print) as "scrap paper" for writing notes on backside, and origami

  • Used/Recycled clothes, paper, wood, etc. as printing materials by applying liquid emulsion


  • Welcoming and accepting so-called imperfections on film and in print (that makes analogue photography magical) instead of wasting resources in chasing an ideal print

  • Pre-planning shoots so film is not squandered in random snapping

originally published May 22, 2019

reposted October 7, 2020

updated (tags) October 28, 2020

updated (additional items) November 7, 2020