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Happy 8th Birthday to ... Us!

Updated: Apr 26

ANZAC Day 2024.

 


As followers of Pianos Recycled on social media may have observed earlier this week, we celebrated our Eighth birthday.  In truth, as about-to-be business partner Sandra and I met on that April evening in 2016 to register Pianos Recycled with ASIC online, we could scarcely know what lay ahead of us.  We had as a start a concept, and the best of intentions, my fairly extensive knowledge of pianos and Sandra’s passion and knowledge of sustainability, the environment and recycling.  Sandra happily, is one of those people who lives as she preaches, is a true practitioner and believer in sustainability and recycling and is, who I would call ‘authentic’, which is what I personally need to work with as I am, by admission, not a great fan of modern society’s fascination with bs!!

 

You’ve heard that saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’?   Well early days, that was us and thus it was that we committed to several self-help sessions with a friend, and ‘change consultant’ Peter Humphreys. And without going on at length about the process, Peter became the third partner bringing to the team a corporate background and a hitherto unknown passion for sustainability, recycling and Change.  That ultimately led to us becoming in 2023, a Proprietary Limited Company.

 

Now some ways down the path we can look at what we have learned and achieved, taking both inspiration and just a little despair (read: frustration) with where we sit, the difficulties both faced, and still facing, and what the future holds.   On the plus side, Pianos Recycled is globally unique, having taken the traditional disposal of old unwanted instruments in a totally new direction, one that should stand as a model for specialists in other areas to study and implement (and dare I say, improve upon).  We have developed an entirely new market as clients, lovers of their beautiful instruments, transform their ageing, family heirloom pianos into something for the next generation to use and cherish.  Pianos Recycled’s PREPS program supplies schools and community groups here in Victoria with free pianos.  We have built a community of artisans and collaborators who make just the most amazing things from this fantastic 100-150 years-old material, people who are able to take our clients’ thoughts and my terrible sketches and create new, living memories.

Best of all, the appreciation from You, our clients and supporters, who without fail express your happiness both for the path taken in re-purposing your piano and with the finished product, makes the process, the challenges and most importantly, the journey, well worth the effort.

 

I could … should?, finish there, on a good note but it would be remiss not to mention the downside, which is primarily the failure of Local Government and State governments, across the board, to recognize the scale of the problem of piano disposal even when presented with facts and figures. It  is disheartening.  But with one exception discussions with local governments’ waste management or sustainability groups here in Victoria and interstate, have led nowhere.  God spare us the ‘sustainability champions’ of one local council, and the glib meaningless words and inaction of most others.  The exception?  Joe Agostino and his team at City of Yarra.  People who a) get the problem and b) are interested in solutions.  That takes both vision, and courage, and we commend them for their uniqueness in this space.

 

Across this nation, Australians (private and corporate) dispose of 3,000-plus pianos EVERY YEAR, and the numbers are accelerating.  Consistently over the past four years we have received 50-60 enquiries per month, via phone, email and social media.  Just this past week we passed the milestone of our 2,000th email request to recycle a piano … and no, that doesn’t include the emails from Britain and North America we receive on a regular basis!  Demand for our services is not slowing down.


To close, on that first night we never put a limit on years or energy or the commitment and here we are at Eight years old.  We are a Waste Management company.  A Sustainability Focused business.  An Environmental company.  Recyclers.  Employers, Enablers and Socially Aware.  True pioneers in a particular niche, of the Circular Economy, but most of all, Lovers of the Piano, of Music and, of the future we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in.


Thank you all who have supported or followed us, our clients, the PREPS groups, and our incredible woodworkers, sculptors, artists and jewelers.  The journey is not over yet, and if by any chance you dear reader are a school teacher, music coordinator or community group organiser who thinks your People would benefit from a FREE street piano, talk to us.

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