old piano disposal

Piano Disposal – the Ultimate Guide to Disposal and Dismantling

1 September 2021

Piano disposal can be tricky due to the instrument’s sheer size and weight, but we’ve created a guide on everything you need to know about piano disposal and dismantling.  So, if you’ve decided the piano isn’t for you, this is the guide for you.

This guide covers:

  1. How to dispose of a piano
  2. How to dismantle a piano
  3. Can I sell or donate my piano?
  4. Will a Man & Van remove my piano?
  5. Are pianos included in council bulky waste collections?
  6. Can I take my piano to the tip?

 

  1. How to dispose of a piano

Your disposal options largely depend on how reusable your piano is and if you have the means to transport a piano.  If you have a piano you no longer want, you have the following options to consider:  selling/donating your piano, using a waste contractor for the disposal, using the council’s bulky waste service or taking it to the tip.

old piano

  1. How to dismantle a piano

Transporting a piano can be difficult because of how big they are, 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 disposing of the piano as taking it apart will most likely damage some of the pieces.

Here’s how to take apart a piano:

 

  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. Then unscrew the key stop rail – this is the bit of wood that keeps the keys in place.
  4. Then you can 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. Now that you can see the pedal mechanisms, you can unscrew them.
  7. Next, you’ll need to 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, you need to 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.

If you follow those steps, moving your piano from A to B will be much easier.

 

  1. Sell or donate your piano

Selling or donating your piano can be a bit tricky.  Chances are you won’t get much for your piano unless it’s a Steinmann or Bechstein.  Unfortunately, old pianos are money pits and now cost more to restore than buy a new one.  So, this means people would usually rather buy new than buy your old piano.

There’s also the added problem of transport – due to the sheer size and weight of the piano, they’re also hard for people to come and collect unless they have a van.  This means you might have a difficult time trying to donate or sell your piano, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible and it’s definitely still worth a try before sending it off for disposal.

The best way to advertise your piano online for sale is by using websites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor or eBay.  If you want to give it away for free, try Piano Adoption (the largest free piano adoption site in the world), Freegle or Freecycle.

For more guidance on how to sell/donate your furniture, check out our ultimate reuse guide.

pianos listed for sale on facebook marketplace

Pianos listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace

 

  1. Man and van removal

If you want your piano disposed of responsibly and quickly, try a Man & Van waste contractor.  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 ran 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 advice is to get quotes from a few local contractors, or alternatively, you could list your piano on the LoveJunk marketplace.  All you need to do is set a price you’re happy to pay for the rubbish removal and wait for a local, licensed contractor to accept the job.  Simple!

  1. Council bulky waste collection

If you were hoping to organise a council bulky waste collection for your piano, be sure to double-check that your local council accepts pianos.  Due to the size and weight of a piano, your council might even count it as two items depending on how they charge so it’s always worth finding out before booking a collection.

Some councils accept pianos and others don’t.  For example, Croydon refuses pianos while Haringey council accepts them as long as they’re broken up prior to collection.

old damaged piano

 

  1. Use your local HWRC

If you have a car and enough space to fit a piano, then your local Household Waste Recycling Centre could be a great disposal method.  The best advice would be to check online or contact your local tip to find out if they accept pianos and if they need to be broken up beforehand.  

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.

If you live in London, check out our ultimate guide to London’s civic amenity sites.



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