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When a family piano either comes to the end of its working life as an instrument (often around 100+ years of age), OR does not fit in a new home when older people are downsizing, OR is inherited as part of an estate, then the universal question is “what do we do with it?”  Pianos Recycled gets about 60 enquiries every month from people listing any, or all, of the above reasons for needing to recycle their family piano. 

Up until now, we offered a range of options/advice which included selling the piano online, collecting for recycling ourselves, piano restoration or alternatively having something made through us, Transforming the Piano.

Having processed over 500 pianos in the last 8 years, we are now full to bursting with pianos and parts that need to find new uses and homes so they are properly recycled, and not just stored.   This situation means we are now, for the short term, accepting only pianos whose owners want their piano to be recycled into something for themselves to keep – “A Piano Transformation”. 

What are some of the reasons that piano owners may choose to go down the piano transformation path?

·        Family heritage and attachment to the piano are such that the owners cannot bear it to go to landfill.  Many pianos have been passed down through generations, and even the current owners may have learned to play on that piano.  Having a memento, furniture or jewellery made from pieces of the piano allows maintaining that connection to the piano, and is a physical reminder of the happy memories made around and with the piano in past times.

·        Beautiful timber/ivory/metal resource which is too good to send to landfill.  A lot of great resources and skill went into making a piano, which should be preserved where possible. Many of the kaleidoscope of timbers used were 100 years old when they were felled in Europe and North America (late 1800’s-early 1900’s), the quality of which simply cannot be found today.  They include spruce, birch, cedar, maple, rosewood, walnut, mahogany, cherry and more.  The historical legacy of environmental cost to elephant populations, due to the past use of their ivory tusks in making ivory key caps, and to ebony tree species, for making the black keys, means this precious material should be given the respect it deserves, rather than dumped in landfill forever.

·        Create a useful new item using recycled antique timbers made by local young woodworkers.  Each piano is made up of thousands of individual parts, the majority of which are suitable for reuse.  We use talented young Melbourne based makers who are sustainability inspired to spend the extra time working with antique materials and use the piano's individual character, material, features and imperfections to help tell the story in the new, totally bespoke pieces they create.

·        Demonstrates product stewardship, responsible ownership and embodies sustainability principles.  Pianos are large pieces of furniture and the majority of owners want to do the right thing when it comes to their end of life.  This does come at a cost unfortunately, because current local and state government pricing mechanisms allow for piano dumping in landfill for around $80.  At the same time, State and local government have not been proactive in their own sustainable procurement policies, mandating recycled content, or helping to create new markets for recycled materials.  This means that piano owners who choose to transform their own pianos are acting as change agents - prepared to financially invest in the future of the planet, be leaders in good global citizenship, whilst supporting local sustainable business. 


We want to thank the more than 100 trailblazers who have chosen to go down the Piano Transformation route with their own pianos (and even a couple of organs) through us so far,  and whose incredible pianos transformed you can view here: Piano Transformations. We invite anyone who may currently be pondering that question “what will we do with the piano?” to get in touch with us for a chat, visit our warehouse in Braeside, Melbourne and “Enter our world of Piano Futures”.  Perhaps we can even create one for your piano!

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