Sciencemadness Discussion Board

How many of you are in the UK, and want laboratory grade chemicals?

peach - 26-1-2011 at 07:14

Being an out of work ex-student means I now I have over £10k's worth of tuition fees to pay off.

Having spent many hours sending CV's off to receive zero replies, I am now considering registering my own company, vat codes and such so that I can order and handle otherwise unavailable chemicals, and send them on to other at home chemists.

This all entails a very large stack of paperwork and effort, and money.

As such, I'm curious to know how many of the SM members are from the UK and might be interested in buying laboratory grade materials.

I am interested primarily in UK members, as dealing with chemicals is a nightmare, and shipping them outside the UK is yet more of a problem - e.g. mercury isn't allowed on aeroplanes due to it's capacity to amalgamate with the aluminium airframe.

It is worth noting that the prices you commonly see from suppliers are ex VAT, and ex all the complications that entails. Meaning, you will be paying more than the lowest catalogue prices you can find as I deal with all the paper shuffling; you will notice that essentially none of the bigger suppliers will deal with the public, at all.

I am also interested in SM members, as I know quite a few of you, and part of the REACH project for handling chemicals is to be aware of who you are selling them to; which is why most chemical suppliers ask for registration codes. I would expect you to provide some form of proof of ID and address in keeping with that.

I would be mainly interested in providing acids, bases, solvents, indicators, custom lengths of chemically resistant tubing and so on. And would likely expand that.

I will not be selling things directly related to making explosive or drugs; because I don't want to go to jail AND be in debt.

If from the UK and interested, say 'indubitably'.

If worried that you'll give away your top secret location to the general public, you can PM me.

If you are not from the UK, but may be interested, say 'Broadsword calling Danny boy, come in Danny boy!'*.

*Where Eagles Dare

1281371269 - 26-1-2011 at 12:20

Indubitably. If you could get glassware at a reasonable price, even more so.

However, I'm not sure this is the most lucrative type of business to set up if all you want to do is pay off your tuition fees?

My decision to take a gap year means that I'm now going to be paying £9k a year. Delightful.

DJF90 - 26-1-2011 at 12:38

Sorry to hear that Mossy. I'll be done with my course at the end of next year (4 yr MChem) so thankfully I won't see the fee rises until I do a D.Phil/Ph.D, and I'm not even sure if they're affected similarly.

SHADYCHASE54 - 26-1-2011 at 12:45

It would be truly excellent if a canadian would come out with a similar offer. One can always dream:D

garryb - 27-1-2011 at 01:02

I wish you well with this endeavour.
I am in the UK and am always looking for new sources. I would be particularly interested in things like furfuraldehyde which seems to be quite inaccessible to home chemists, but any new source of chemicals is to be welcomed.

Tiberius_C - 27-1-2011 at 01:03

It would be even better to see an American do that :D

ScienceSquirrel - 27-1-2011 at 04:01

I suspect that quite few people who sell chemicals in the UK on eBay etc are buying in bulk from places in Eastern Europe, etc where there are less controls and things are cheaper, shipping them in to the UK, repackaging and selling them.
You could make small amounts of money by supplying common inorganic chemicals. apart from home chemists there are potter, dyers, etc who need pigments, mordants, etc, but I doubt you will make enough to pay off your loan or get rich :(

woelen - 27-1-2011 at 04:40

I am from the Netherlands and I actually purchase almost all of my chemicals from the UK. I think 60% is from the UK, the rest from all other places (mostly NL of course, but also some from Germany, USA, Canada and maybe a few other countries).

I have the impression that there already are many sellers in the UK who sell chemicals (have alook on eBay), even stuff like 35% hydrogen peroxide which cannot be obtained from anywhere else than the UK (over here we have 30% at most). Also many metal oxides and carbonates can be obtained from UK-based sellers, even from the less well known transition metals.

Also companies like provide many interesting chemicals without too much hassle.

So, if you want to sell chemicals, then you must be outstanding in some way. Maybe the business model from the Dutch company may be interesting for you. This is a company which aims mainly at home scientists and especially home chemists. This company sells complete kits, but also many many chemicals, second hand glassware and also sells 'second hand' chemicals for low prices (the owner of this company takes away old chemicals from schools, labs, etc. and sells them for low prices). They know their customers very well! They even sell stuff like hydrazine to me, while others only can get something like 10% HCl and nothing more dangerous.

Just browse that site of to get an impression. This company is very successful. The site is in Dutch, but you certainly will get an idea of the business.

[Edited on 27-1-11 by woelen]

peach - 27-1-2011 at 11:29

That's a good site!

It's also interesting the mention of removing old materials, as that is a problem for people, that they need to pay extortionate hazardous waste fees if they want to throw chemicals out.

I realise there are quite a few people selling chemicals on the UK eBay. In fact, I think I've bought chemicals from the same people you have.

In my opinion, eBay is quite lacking in terms of what's available. For instance, you won't find the basic solvents on there a lot of the time. There's no diethyl ether, chloroform, DMSO shows up sometimes (for putting on your horse), cyclohexane, THF, benzene, DMF and so on.

Choosing which chemicals to sell is a difficult thing. If I was to offer the same list you can get from a VAT code requiring supplier, direct to the public, I doubt it would be long before I was in court for assisting a drug or bomb lab.

REACH came out to try and track materials from production to disposal; to make sure large amounts of them aren't being bought for illegal uses and that they, and their products, aren't being illegally disposed of - by 'loosing' them. There is a suggestion being made in the European parliament to entirely removed pure forms of chemicals from the shelves.

[Edited on 27-1-2011 by peach]

appetsbud - 31-1-2011 at 14:49

i agree with the majority in that i think that perhaps your idea is not the best for making monies. There is a fair amount of competition out there already, ebay seems to be getting a wider range of chemicals by the minute, and there are already a few companies that sell small amounts of chemicals to individuals like to name one. (there are more, but i can't remember off hand im not so much into the whole chemistry thing anymore... i just cant quite seem to stay away from these boards...) Of course to source a long lasting passion to combat your money troubles will no doubt be satisfying and a great thing to do with your life, but from where im standing, it looks more like a labor of love than a money spinner.

on a side note, it would be great if you managed to set up a reputable business specifically for home chemistry in the UK as it would no doubt bring the image of home chemistry out from the shadows somewhat, perhaps even making it more socially acceptable. in fact, do it this year! as it is the international year of Chemistry!..

anyhow, seeing as this thread has probably attracted most of the UK members, im going to use it to try and flog some of my old chemistry wares. Mostly accumulated from ebay. I have quite a few chemicals that i bought out of what became more of a compulsive hoarding than a chemistry hobby, some of which would be a real hassle to dispose of. I really don't think that i should post most of these and i would like to get rid of some of them in 'bulk' if possible, but I live in the very north of england so i'm out of the way to the majority of the population. Anyone who thinks they might be up for some chemicals please PM me and i will send you more detail of my proposal which currently consists only of a vague desire to get rid of the half remembered chemical cornucopia that is my attic. Also i would be up for selling some glassware.

many thanks.

Eliteforum - 1-2-2011 at 05:46

Why not.

AntPharm - 8-2-2011 at 07:22

Excellent idea peach. If you make any progress, let us know! There's a few reagents I could add to my collection