Is 35mm Film Photography Eco-friendly?

Protecting our world and its future is the most important task of our generation. So, where does 35mm film photography fit into this ever-changing world, and can we change to make 35mm film photography more eco-friendly?

Is 35m film photography eco-friendly and sustainable

Is 35mm film photography eco-friendly?

There is a lot to consider when answering this question. The main areas of 35mm film photography to consider are where the cameras come from, film processing, photo printing, camera maintenance, camera disposal, film manufacturing, and your environmental impact as a photographer.

Are 35mm film cameras eco-friendly?

The first point to make is that most 35mm film cameras are vintage. This means they are not being manufactured in the modern day (with a few exclusions). This makes acquiring a 35mm film camera relatively eco-friendly as you are buying a vintage product that has already been manufactured (the same way you buy vintage clothes). 

Those horrible new Kodak cameras are certainly not eco-friendly, or even good as a 35mm film camera. 

We do many things as a business to make sure we are as eco-friendly as possible. We will discuss these at the bottom of this post.

Olympus Trip 35mm film camera being repaired

Is film processing eco-friendly?

Processing film uses a lot of chemicals, releases other chemicals, and needs to be disposed of correctly. I am not an expert in the area of knowledge, however, so I do not feel fully qualified to talk about it. 

Labs should have eco-friendly policies in place to make sure that all hazardous chemicals are disposed of correctly. There are also companies that recover silver from the developing process. 

How can I be a more eco-friendly photographer?

I, personally, think that being eco-friendly is a state of mind. When you are keeping the environment in mind with all of your decisions, you end up choosing the things that are most eco-friendly to you. 

My advice for people who are looking to be more eco-friendly as a film photographer is:

  • Choose a lab that shares your values - look up their environmental impact and quiz them on it if you are not sure.
  • Maintain your 35mm film camera - make sure it is working at its best, so that you don't have to dispose of it.
  • Purchase cameras from eco-friendly sellers - like us!
  • Be more mindful of how much film you use - although I am sure this one goes without saying.
  • Consider donating to eco-friendly charities or volunteering in your spare time.
35mm film camera shown with eco-friendly materials

What do Cameras By Max do to be eco-friendly?

We pride ourselves on being an eco-friendly and eco-conscious business. Looking after our earth is so important and we have always endeavoured to make sure that our shop is as eco-friendly as it can be.

Here are the things we do to protect our earth and oceans: 

We only use recycled and recyclable packaging. 

  • Our "bubblewrap" is entirely paper-based and easily recycled with your normal paper recycling. 
  • Our iconic wrapping paper is made from recycled post-consumer kraft paper and is stamped using a water-based ink.
  • Our cardboard boxes are made from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable.
  • We use paper tape to secure all our boxes. The adhesive on the tape is made from corn starch. This tape can be recycled with your box and is 100% biodegradable. 
  • The paper that fills our boxes is recycled and recyclable, so all the packaging that comes with your camera can go straight in your recycling box.
  • The postage labels we use are phenol-free and 100% biodegradable. A lot of labels used on packaging contain micro-plastics, but our does not.

Our film bags are reusable.

  • Each roll of film comes with a cute little film bag with our logo on it. These bags are entirely reusable and can be used to store your films, accessories, and many other things!
  • They are also made from organic cotton and stamped with a water-based ink.

All of our products are vintage.

  • We source vintage cameras and accessories from all over the world and refurbish them to make them look their best. 
  • We also repair a lot of cameras that would have been wasted and sent to landfill. 
  • Refurbishing people's cameras also means that they will last longer and not end up being sent to waste. We try to keep our repair costs down as much as possible, so that it is more sustainable for someone to keep their camera rather than get rid of it and buy a new one.

Our website is carbon neutral.

  • Any emissions produced by our website, email campaigns, and other online activity are automatically offset with Treenation. You can see our "forest" here.

All orders over £60 plant a free tree in an international forest.

  • Every order over £60 qualifies for a free tree to be planted in our Treenation forest to help offset our carbon emissions. We are often giving away free trees on our Instagram as well. You can see our "forest" here.

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


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