Garnet Disposal

garnet recycling | Sustainability in Abrasive blasting and waterjet cutting USA

The Cost-Effective Option for Used Waterjet and Abrasive Blast Media Disposal

It is expensive in terms of logistics, packaging and labor to find ways to dispose of used garnet. Due to GMA Garnet’s superior toughness and low friability, GMA Garnet™ abrasive can be recycled up to five times without compromising its reliable, high-quality performance.

At our garnet reprocessing facilities, we first clean spent garnet sourced from blasting and waterjet cutting activities to remove all contaminants, including dust, rust, paint flakes and metallic particles. 
Then we precisely size the garnet into various grades to suit customer requirements. Strict sampling and quality control procedures ensure that sizing and purity are maintained to our own industry best standards.

As our customers become increasingly focused on economic and environmentally responsible disposal solutions to manage their spent garnet, GMA stands ready with complete life cycle solutions.

Is your company a good match for GMA's abrasive blast media disposal program? Talk to an expert.

Logistics of the GMA Garnet Recycling System

How does the GMA garnet waste management program work

Customers send used garnet from waterjet cutting or abrasive blasting from their facilities to ours, and we reprocess the material in one of our state-of-the-art facilities. Before you can return used garnet, you must ensure that is it environmentally safe to transport and process.
  • To ensure all loads of garnet are non-hazardous, you must submit a 100-gram sample of spent garnet to Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental for Resource Conservation and Recovery ACT (RCRA 8 Metals) testing via Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) analysis.
  • Next, you must submit a sample to GMA for sizing analysis to see whether we can get value from reprocessing the garnet.
  • If it is suitable and safe, GMA will issue a return authorization.

What does GMA do with the spent garnet?

GMA will reprocess the garnet just as we process freshly mined garnet, according to our same strict standards and testing.

How do I get it out of a waterjet tank?

There are many ways to remove spent garnet from a waterjet tank, ranging from shoveling the material to various automated removal systems. Contact your waterjet OEM or GMA representative to discuss options for your shop.

Does the water in the garnet add weight?

Garnet itself does not absorb water, so any water weight is minimal and usually limited the the water trapped in the container of spent garnet.

Can I recycle my own garnet?

Yes, though creating a garnet recycling system generally requires a significant capital investment.


What is the cost?

You will pay the costs to test garnet to make sure that GMA can accept it, the costs to transport it to a GMA facility and in some cases GMA handling fees. These costs differ depending on transportation distance, the fees of the lab you send your garnet to and other variables. Typically, costs are lower if your facility is closer to a collection point.

Currently, our beneficial use processing plants are located in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania; Coos Bay, Oregon; and Reserve, Louisiana.

Do you buy the garnet back from us?

No. GMA does not pay for the used garnet, and the customer pays for the abrasive recycling costs. However, allowing GMA to recycle your garnet is in many cases more cost effective than paying for other methods of garnet disposal. We work with customers to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly arrangement.


How do I prepare the garnet for recycling?

In addition to the pre-return testing and approval process, you must packaged and pallet the garnet to make it safe for transportation and unloading.

If I can’t store 44,000 pounds of used garnet in my facility, can I send back less than a full truckload?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept less than a full truckload due to the costs of reprocessing garnet waste.

How do I package my used garnet?

Typically, you return it in unlined, like-new bulk bags on a good quality pallet.

Do I return garnet waste in dump trucks and roll-off bins?

We are happy to work with customers to see if this can be an option.

Contact us


Is used waterjet garnet or abrasive blast media hazardous?

GMA garnet products are inert and inherently nonhazardous.  However, if foreign materials are introduced during the waterjet cutting or blasting process, the garnet can be contaminated. This is why testing and evaluation are required prior to returning any garnet for the protection of both companies.

Is environmental testing needed?

We require a TCLP test prior to returning garnet, and your local regulations may require further testing.

We are responsible for the spent material from cradle to grave – how can we be assured this isn’t going to impact us later (legal, environmental, etc.)?

Upfront testing will negate future liability, and GMA reprocesses your garnet according to all regulations.

From a client

We have finally found GMA, a partner who meets our requirements in managing our used
garnet responsibly at a reasonable cost.

Read more about CUTCUT's success in waterjet abrasive recycling with GMA.

Florian Baumann, General Manager, CUTCUT


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