Etchants containing hexavalent chromium and sulfuric acid are used in a variety of surface-finishing operations. When the resultant spent solutions are discarded, substantial quantities of chromium are lost and pollution problems are created. To minimize the undesirable environmental effects while improving metal and minerals recycling technology, the Bureau of Mines is conducting research on a method for the economic inplant recycling of these waste etchants. Trivalent chromium, produced when the etchant reacts with a substrate, is oxidized in the anode chamber of a diaphragm cell; other metals, dissolved during the etching operation, are transferred to the catholyte. When waste brass etchants are treated in this manner, all of the trivalent chromium is oxidized and more than 40 percent of the copper and zinc is removed. Similar copper removal and chromium oxidation are achieved with waste printed circuit board etchants and rinse waters from plastic etching operations. The electrical energy needed to regenerate 1 kg sodium dichromate is less than 9 kwhr. Regenerated brass etchants evaluated by two companies equaled or exceeded the performance of fresh etchants.