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How to dispose of a piano

1 September 2021

Looking for advice about how to dispose of a piano? They can seem daunting to get rid of because of their sheer size and weight but this guide explains every piano disposal option. Key sections include:

  1. Donate your piano for reuse
  2. Council piano collection
  3. Take your piano to the tip
  4. Man & van waste collector
    1. How much does piano removal cost?
  5. FAQs
    1. How do I dismantle a piano?
    2. Do charity shops take pianos?


1. Donate your piano for reuse

Selling or donating a piano can be tricky for a few reasons. Firstly, people only really want Steinmann or Bechstein. Plus, old pianos cost a lot to repair and still won’t sound as good! There’s also the problem of transport. Pianos are large and very heavy, meaning it’s a lot of hassle to move them from A to B. 

However, if your piano is in good working order, there are some options:

  • Ask local schools or theatre groups
  • Post on free reuse sites like LoveJunk, Freegle, Freecycle or Piano Adoption – the world’s largest piano adoption site
  • Try Facebook marketplace, Gumtree or eBay for selling



2. Council bulky waste collection service

Only 11% of councils collect pianos. This is because most have a policy in place preventing them from collecting extremely heavy items. Unfortunately, whether your council will take your piano and how much is costs comes down to a postcode lottery. So check your council’s bulky waste collection pages to see if you’re lucky!

old piano

As a rough idea, councils charge £33 on average to collect 1 item. This may not apply to something as large and heavy as a piano, so use that figure as a guideline only. Plus, costs vary between free and £75 depending on the local authority. Btw, we’ve written a full article on Council Large Item Collection prices.


3. Take your piano to the tip

If you can dismantle and take the piano to the tip yourself, it’s a great option especially if you’re looking to save money.  Household Waste Recycling Centres are usually free to use, however, please remember to check your local HWRC’s website before visiting, or contact them to find out if they charge. 

For example, North Yorkshire council says that if you have musical instruments (including pianos) in a usable condition, you can take them to the reuse bay at their HWRC sites. However, if it’s unusable they request the piano is broken up beforehand and taken to the wood skip at the tip.


4. Hire a man & van waste collector

If you decide reuse or transporting it yourself is too much, you can try a man & van waste collector. They can usually respond really fast and can do all the heavy lifting for you.

Provide as many details as you can about the piano. Most man and van contractors drive light goods vehicles and can take about 1.0-1.5 tonnes of waste.  Smaller pianos normally weigh around 180 – 270kg and grand pianos can weigh up to half a tonne. So, as long as the collector has the capacity in the van for the piano, they should be more than happy to take it.

The best way to find a licensed collector is to use the LoveJunk marketplace. Simply post a picture of your piano and receive free, no-obligation quotes from nearby businesses in minutes. Choose the best price, pay after collection and get full proof of disposal to your inbox – easy!


How much does it cost?

The final piano disposal price depends on how big your piano is and how urgently you need it gone. Be prepared that disposing of a piano isn’t cheap! For a standard upright piano, costs can range between £60-£200. Our Rubbish Removal Prices tool lets you see the very latest jobs from around the country to compare costs. Youc an also see some examples below:


Piano and stool, £100

Old piano, £100

Good condition piano, £70


Answers to commonly asked questions about getting rid of pianos:


How do you dismantle a piano?

Transporting a piano can be difficult due to its size, which is why it’s sometimes a good idea to dismantle the piano first for easy transport.  However, this option is only good if you’re not hoping to reuse the piano, as taking it apart will most likely damage some of the pieces.

How to take a piano apart:

  1. Open the piano keys lid and take off the piano desk.  The piano desk is removed every time the piano is tuned, so it should be easy to lift.
  2. Unscrew the piano keys’ lid.
  3. Unscrew the key stop rail – this is the bit of wood that keeps the keys in place.
  4. Remove the keys by simply pulling them up.
  5. After that, you’ll need to get on the floor and remove the screws which are underneath where the keys were – this will let you take off the key slip and the lower front board to expose the strings and pedals underneath.
  6. Unscrew the pedal mechanisms.
  7. Remove the piano side supports.  The easiest way to do this is with the piano lying on its back.  The frame is held in place with screws, so you’ll need to remove them and then pull the side planks off.
  8. Finally, remove the screws and bolts attaching the harp to the piano body.  Remove all screws you see.

Here’s a great YouTube video that shows the process.


Do charity shops take pianos?

Only some! Unfortunately, most of the charities that offer furniture collection like British Heart Foundation and Emmaus for example do not accept pianos because they are considered too heavy for teams to lift. 

This doesn’t mean you won’t find a charitable cause that wants it! You are probably better off approaching churches, local organisations, schools or youth clubs. 



Thanks for reading! We hope you found our how to dispose of piano guide useful. If you have any other waste to get rid of, we’ve explained how to dispose of rubbish in this ultimate clearance guide.


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