How to Dispose of X-Ray Films

If you have X-ray films that need to be destroyed, it’s important to know how to handle them.

According to the NHS, these films can be kept in photo albums or locked air-tight boxes. Once they’re finished, they can end up being thrown away.

So, how do you dispose of X-ray films?

X-rays are important for diagnosing medical problems, but if they are not thrown away properly, they can be very dangerous to your health.

X-rays destroy DNA, and this can cause cancer if ingested or inhaled. That’s why it’s crucial to dispose of X-ray films properly.

They can be safely disposed of by shredding or burning them. However, if they’re not burned properly, they can emit dangerous amounts of radiation.

To avoid these risks, you should call your local waste management company and follow their instructions on how to throw away X-ray films.

How to Dispose of X-Ray Films

Your Municipal Government Can Also Assist

As a means of preserving your documents for posterity, it’s recommended to keep hard copies of important documents like medical records in an airtight box or photo album.

To get more information, you can contact your local government.

If they do, they will provide instructions on how to properly dispose of x-ray films and anything else that requires proper disposal.

Remember to just bring in the x-rays when recycling day rolls around in your area. Do not bring them in plastic bags because paper bags are biodegradable.

Contact Radiology Clinics

For whatever reason, any radiology clinic should be able to help you shred your x-rays once you have copies made of any critical images you need to preserve.

This is true since privacy laws in most states require clinics to shred all patient records once they expire from the clinic’s storage medium.

So, you can be sure that your x-rays will be shredded well with cutting-edge machines before being thrown away.

Going Back to the Hospital Where You Got Your X-ray Done

You are not usually required to bring your x-ray to the hospital where you got it done to have it recycled, but you should consider doing so anyway.

If you do, though, the technician might offer you some tips on how to protect your images from identity theft if your originals are stolen or lost by carefully handling them at the disposal site.

Return to the hospital where you got your x-ray done to have those images scanned onto CD/DVD and shred the originals if the hospital doesn’t offer this service on-site.

They should be able to scan the images from old cassettes onto DVD/CD for you free of charge if you have your complete medical record from the hospital.

You may be required to pay a fee for this service if your medical record is incomplete.

You may require a copy of your image(s) on CD/DVD for medical or legal reasons rather than having them shredded.

Are X-Rays Hazardous Waste?

Because of its contents and potential health hazard, most jurisdictions consider an X-ray film to be hazardous waste and require you to dispose of it according to your local regulations regarding hazardous waste.

X-rays often include lead-based chemicals that are considered hazardous and can contaminate the environment if improperly disposed of. So, make sure you dispose of them properly.

If you consume huge amounts of X-ray films on a daily basis, then you might consider getting a portable X-ray scanner to help you convert all those films into digital images. Then, you can store them on your computer and get rid of all the printed films.

It may cause kidney, liver, and thyroid problems if you swallow large amounts of lead, so be careful with it.

People might go into a coma or die from swallowing too much lead; don’t ingest it.

Can You Recycle X-Rays?

Yes, x-rays may definitely be recycled. But only if they are taken to a recycling center that has special plans for dealing with radioactive materials.

Even though it might seem easier to just throw them away in the trash without thinking about how bad they are for the environment, it would be smarter to recycle them instead.

Allow me to reiterate that you should never throw used x-ray films in your garbage can as they may pose a serious health risk to your health and the environment.

X-ray films are often contaminated with heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which make them a health hazard to people as well as to the environment.

These materials are harmful to the environment and require special handling and disposal procedures.

Plastics that are used to make x-rays, for example, do not break down in the environment and will stay there for hundreds of years.

Also, x-rays have silver particles in them, which are harmful to fish and other aquatic animals.

Are X-Rays Radioactive?

When x-rays are radioactive, it makes them hazardous to the environment as they release radiation that can damage human tissue and even cause cancer in living organisms.

X-rays are radioactive in general, but there are those that may be radioactive, for example, dental radiographs (x-rays of teeth).

This is not to scare you, but to make you aware of the danger they pose to your health and the environment.

Even though they happen naturally, they are considered man-made radioactivity, which can be dangerous to people and the environment if it is not handled carefully.

Can You Put X-Rays In The Bin?

Throwing away x-rays may not only be harmful to the environment but also to your health. This is why x-ray disposal should never be taken lightly.

For starters, x-rays are constructed from various types of materials, including plastic and metal. Their disposal should be done in a way that doesn’t harm the environment in any way.

In reality, you may earn money by recycling your x-ray films. This will help you recoup some of the cost of buying them in the first place.

Furthermore, x-rays carry sensitive information about people’s health and medical history. Because of this, you must throw them away in the right way to protect your clients’ privacy.

Aside from that, x-rays should not end up in landfills where they may be harmful to humans and the surrounding environment. Because they degrade slowly over time, releasing harmful radiation into the air and groundwater.

With all of these things in mind, we at The Green Scene suggest that you call your local hospital or health center to find out where and how to get rid of your x-ray films in the right way.

Also Read: How to Dispose of Landscaping Rocks


Now you know how to responsibly dispose of your x-ray films and how to do it in a cost-effective way.

You don’t want to be caught disposing of private medical documents without authorization. Does your state have regulations for x-ray film disposal?

To safely get rid of radiographic films, you will need to call a hospital or medical center in your area.

However, as you can see, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t simply throw your x-ray films in the trash.

You may give them to a company that recycles x-rays or take them to the nearest hospital/health center for proper disposal.

Whatever technique you use, be certain to do it in a responsible manner that protects both the environment and the health of your clients.