I was talking to a friend who told me silver prices are at 30 year highs. The company we have been using at my hospital shreds our films and says it’s the law to do so. Once you factor in the shredding charge, we don’t get any money back for our film. Are we getting taken advantage of? I would think with prices where they are we should be getting something back? From Lori in Chicago, Illinois

Hi Lori,

The thing to keep in mind when you are selling x-ray film for the silver is that you need to have a substantial amount to make the freight and refining cost worth the effort. The amount of silver in one X-ray is negligible. However when you have 400 pounds or more of the material then you should expect to see a return, based on the silver price today.

You are correct when you say that silver is at an all time high today. Here is a quick bit of the history of silver in the United States. At the beginning of 1980 silver reached a record high of around $49.00 per troy ounce, however right after that it started to drop and in 1981 dropped to under $9.00 per troy ounce. After the huge drop it seemed like no one wanted to invest in silver anymore. In the last few years we have seen gold and silver prices climb. Other factors to consider include inflation and the value of the dollar. A dollar does not get you as far today as it did in 1980.

Silver Price Chart

34 Year Silver Price Chart from Silverprice.org

There are government regulations in place when companies destroy personal information such as x-ray film. We follow HIPAA guidelines and provide certificates of destruction for our customers. When the company you are using say they are following the law by shredding these x-rays they might not actually be refiners, but only middlemen shredders. By shredding x-ray film they are destroying the material in a HIPAA compliant manner. However, if you have your film sent into a refiner, we do not shred the film but recover the silver and destroy it according to HIPAA rules. This is an issues that some of our customers had questions about so we addressed in our latest press release: Arch Enterprises Addresses Industry Concerns about X-Ray Recycling

How much x-ray film are you sending in at once? If you are sending more than 300-400 pounds at a time, then you should question the company you are using about a return.