An electrochemical method was applied for the recovery of copper both from the spent solutions and from the rinse waters of electroless copper plating baths, containing copper sulfate, formaldehyde, quadrol, and NaOH. Experiments were conducted in a rotating packed cell (Rollschichtzelle((R))) to investigate the effects of current density, electrolyte composition, temperature, and pH on the copper recovery. All the copper (final C-cu = 0.1 ppm) was recovered from the waste and rinse waters of chemical copper plating plants with 70% current efficiency by the electrochemical treatment in a rotating packed cell at 130 A/m(2) current density, room temperature, with 5 mm diameter cathode granules, with the presence of formaldehyde, and with a specific energy consumption of 3.2-3.5 kW h/kg Cu. On the other hand, final copper concentrations of 5 ppm were reached with 62% current efficiency and 5.5-5.8 kW h/kg Cu specific energy consumption, with electrolytes containing no formaldehyde. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.