Panning for silver in laundry wastewater

CFP: Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered. The wastewater from this process could end up in the environment, possibly harming aquatic life, so researchers have attempted to recover the silver. Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that detergent chemistry plays a significant role in how much of this silver can be removed from laundry wastewater.

Some clothing manufacturers incorporate silver nanoparticles into their products because these tiny bits of metal can kill odor-causing bacteria. But researchers have found that some of that silver is washed away as the garments are laundered. These silver nanoparticles can be toxic to many aquatic organisms and can impact the effectiveness of bacterial processing in wastewater treatment plants. But recovering the nanomaterial from laundry water isn’t an easy process because of low concentrations of silver in the water, high concentrations of competing ions and an uncertainty as to which exact forms of silver are present. Previous research by Sukalyan Sengupta and Tabish Nawaz showed that ion-exchange technology is highly selective for silver, but this study did not examine the role of detergent chemistry, which could interfere with this method. So that’s what they wanted to examine in the current report. read more

10 Comments on Panning for silver in laundry wastewater

  1. We’re all going to be living under a bridge and washing our clothes in the creek anyways so what does any of this matter. Probably to tax laundry day or get federal funding for more study.

  2. A dentist told me the soft pad around the dentist chair wasn’t just for comfortable standing. The pad also trapped the gold or silver dust from fillings, and periodically the pad would be sent off to recover the metal. Also before radiology departments went digital, when they used film, the discarded film was collected and sent off to recover the silver. There was enough silver in the film that occasionally some imposters would go to hospitals and take the film to steal the silver.

  3. When are they gonna find out where socks disappear to? When they find that out, they can build a teleporter! Beam me up, Scotty?

    Experiment design: Make 1,000 socks, each one with a serial number and an address woven into the fabric. Wear and wash them, keeping track of them at all times. Record whenever one goes missing. Post a reward for any recovered. If anyone sends one back for the reward, record the location of recovery.

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