The sad truth is the the “safe” “organic” “natural” or “food grade” assets sold as jewelry pickle are only all of those things prior to you usage them. Even ~ you usage them they space still (relatively) for sure for you and also your drains, but they space NOT safe for the environment. The retailers don’t need to tell girlfriend this due to the fact that they aren’t marketing you the used product, i beg your pardon is full OF toxic COPPER.

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Copper is extremely toxic come fish – 10 times more toxic to fish and other aquatic life 보다 cyanide is come people!*

This copper air pollution is NOT removed once pickle is neutralized v baking soda, so placing neutralized pickle down the drain is – native the perspective of a fish – prefer dumping cyanide into your regional drinking water reservoir. If friend dump copper contaminated pickle ~ above the ground, it conveniently leaches right into the soil water, which is also an extremely bad. That is extremely crucial that no matter where we live, we ALL dispose the this material very closely so as not to harm our fishy neighbors and further damage already beleaguered aquatic ecosystems!

Luckily, you have actually two GREEN selections for ideal disposal:

1. Take your spent pickle come a local household hazardous waste disposal site.

If you are disposing of her pickle at a hazardous waste arsenal site, be certain to note the container through the actual acid supplied – not simply “pickle” – and append “contaminated v copper” to the acid named. You deserve to see that the container in the photo above is significant “Sodium Bisulfate – contaminated through copper”.

2. Act your invested pickle yourself to remove toxic metals and neutralize acid.

This is remarkably straightforward to do, and also science in action is fun :)!

(NOTE: This an approach can additionally be provided to remove the copper from offered ferric chloride solution.)

Read on for instructions….

Pickle treatment – Precipitate Copper & Neutralize Acid

To treat her pickle yourself, you require to get 2 items that you more than likely don’t already have lying about the house:


Must haves: calcium hydroxide & pH record with a range of 1-12.

calcium hydroxide (pickling lime or slaked lime – sold in the canning ar of some hardware stores, and additionally sold as Kalkwasser in some aquarium shops – not lime indigenous a garden store, that has no calcium hydroxide) – ns bought 2 pounds from (in re-sealable 1 lb bags). For my approx. 1.5 gallons of pickle, ns used less than 1 pound of calcium hydroxide.pH test paper strips (get ones virtual or in ~ a lab supply home that check from at the very least 1-12 pH with a shade coded chart — soil and saliva pH test kits will NOT work!)


You will also need:

kitty litter (cheapest – mine experiment required about 10 pounds!)deep bucket (taller and also deeper is best, rather than broad and shallow)small bucket or container (use come mix lime through water)stir stickglovessplash goggles


Safety first! Eye protection and gloves are de rigueur :).

1) placed on gloves and also splash goggles.


Big deep bucket = numerous room to maneuver.

2) Pour invested pickle right into deep bucket, filling it not more than ¾ full.


3) check the spent pickle systems with the pH paper. Dip just the guideline of a short length of pH paper into the solution and compare it to the color coded chart on the pH document dispenser. Make a keep in mind of the pH, i m sorry should be fairly acidic (low number). Mine to be at around a pH the 2 in the snapshot above.


4) put a small amount of water (a pair of cups) in a small bucket or container. A to water spout is a handy feature here. Use a stir stick come mix in the calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) until you have actually a smooth slurry.


Add lime gradually – it’s straightforward to overshoot the mark!

5) really SLOWLY – ns repeat very SLOWLY!!! – include the lime slurry come the spent pickle and also stir through a stick. If you to water quickly, it is really easy to add too lot lime, and shoot previous the desired pH that 9.



pH is in ~ 7, so us are obtaining close!

6) when the color alters to green and the equipment starts to obtain cloudy, check the pH again. It’s coming follow me nicely and also I’m in ~ a pH of around 7 in the picture above.


We’re there! pH 9. Check.

7) You want to proceed (SLOWLY!) stirring in small quantities of lime slurry (and testing generally with the pH paper) until you with a pH that at least 9 (solution will certainly be basic now quite than acidic). The final solution must have a pH of between 9 and 10, or you i will not ~ pull all the copper out of solution and turn it right into solids in the type of the cloudy precipitate.

In the picture above, the pH test strip has reached the blueish-green color that indicates a pH that 9. For this reason YAY for the :)!


Too basic! This is a pH test of the calcium hydroxide (lime) slurry.

To present you what friend DON’T want, this snapshot shows a strip of pH record that has been dipped straight in the calcium hydroxide (lime) slurry. You can see the white lime ~ above the end of the paper. Just behind the bit of lime, the file is a dark blue, describe a pH the 13, which is means too high.

You don’t want to go past a pH that 10, or the tricksy copper will certainly go ago into solution. If the happens, every is not lost! Mix increase a bit of fresh pickle and add it come your big bucket. This will drop the pH again, and you have the right to have one more go in ~ creeping stealthily increase on the wanted pH through adding much more lime. The fresh pickle doesn’t have actually copper in it, of course, but the extr acid will get you ago on track. Test her pH again before adding any more lime. In fact, test your pH OFTEN, you have a whole roll that pH paper, and also that’s what it’s because that :).


Settled and separated.

8) as soon as you’ve got to a pH that 9 or 10, let the bucket the cloudy systems sit undisturbed overnight. The hard precipitate (copper hydroxide particles) will resolve to the bottom.

If the liquid above the resolved solids is transparent, climate you have effectively removed all the copper. If it’s still blue or green, then there is quiet copper in solution, and also you’ll need to examine the pH and adjust up (with lime) or down (with pickle) to acquire to a pH that at the very least 9 and also no higher than 10.


Liquid scooped from peak layer the solution. Clear = GOOD!

It’s hard to tell whether the fluid is clear as soon as you space looking down right into a bucket v a great of green precipitate at the bottom, so i gently and carefully scooped a bit of the fluid layer out v a tiny white plastic container (pictured above). Yep. It’s clear! On come the final steps!!


Decant, carefully and gently!

9) tenderness lift the bucket and ever so closely pour the clear liquid off, leaving some liquid and also the solids in the bottom of the bucket. The clear liquid deserve to go down the consistent sewer/sink drain (not storm sewer!).


Precipitate is really wet. Many liquid left in it.


I bought the cheapest clay-type cat litter I might find. The was nearly over-poweringly perfume-y… yet I was so close to the end, so i soldiered on.


10) permit the continuing to be liquid from the result sludge come evaporate — or mix v kitty litter to form a solid. The precipitate and also liquid left native treating around 1.5 gallons that pickle required roughly 10 pounds the clay-type cat litter come absorb every the liquid.


My hand for scale. The kitty litter route makes a pretty huge bag of trash!

Bag the dried solid an outcome and dispose of in trash.

EPILOGUE: You very probably have several of your calcium hydroxide lime slurry left over. You can either store it in its slurry type – properly significant as “Calcium hydroxide – corrosive slaked limewater” – until the following time you must treat invested pickle. That keeps well. Stir it up prior to using the again. Due to the fact that it’s a solid base, don’t keep it near acids. If friend don’t want to save the slurry, you have the right to pour tiny amounts – a pint or less at a time – under your toilet.

What i did to be let the slurry dry the end completely, and then damaged it into chunks and put it back into the bag it come in to save it. That keeps fine this way, too, and also is prepared for the next time I need to treat some pickle.

That’s it. Done and dusted!

Thanks because that caring, standing through the planet, and protecting all the fabulous life in the water about you.



P.S. Walk a girlfriend forward this short article to you? Did girlfriend stumble on the by accident? want to eliminate the element of chance? Click here to acquire on my direct list.


Theoretical solubility of metal hydroxides vs. PH – note that copper (Cu) has actually a sharp “V” in ~ pH 9!

*Dave Waddell from regional Hazardous Waste administration Program in King County, WA, called me around the toxicity that copper to aquatic life, and taught me this method for dealing with jewelry pickle. Dave have the right to be reached at (206) 263-1673, and at dave.waddell

Sadly because that us, Dave is retiring top top June 24th, 2016. He will be lot missed by the arts community he has actually done so much to help! the urges people to contact King County’s organization Waste line for assist and information. Their number is (206) 263-8899.

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