Pianos Recycled

Pianos Recycled is a 5-year-old circular economy startup based out of a small Keysborough warehouse. Our purpose is to restore, repurpose and/or recycle as many of the 2,000+ pianos that end up in Australian landfill each year. (More than 5 pianos a week are being dumped in Melbourne alone). Design is central to our existence. Firstly, pianos themselves are the product of more than 300-years of design: furniture design; scale engineering; sound optimisation; leveraging optimal characteristics of timbers; and innovations in iron and steel. Secondly the circular economy still has many challenges. One of those is the lack of awareness or seeming reluctance of artisans to experiment and trial the beautiful high-quality old-forest timbers and veneers found in 80-120-year-old pianos. To promote the upcycling opportunities we collaborate with local artisans and craftspeople to design and create bespoke furniture and other timber-based products. We helped this along in 2019 by running the inaugural Piano Transformation Challenge Competition and Exhibition at the North Melbourne Meat Market for amateurs and professionals. (This was held with the support of the Victorian Woodworkers Association). We also have a yearly presence at the Port Fairy Folk Festival’s Instrument Makers Exhibition where we have been trying for a number of years to excite luthiers and other instrument makers in the potential of piano timbers, particularly the fit-for-purpose soundboards and pinblocks. Thirdly, we are currently working with community organisations (charities, schools, Mens Sheds) to develop design-led collaborative arts projects using piano materials. Fourthly, the design process of any of our piano-owner transformations is necessarily (and always) a collaboration between ourselves, the artisan, and the owner. Melbourne used to be Australia’s piano-making hub and Pianos Recycled has a vision to now make it the creative hub for design-led piano materials upcycling. We add unique value because we can determine a piano’s provenance and therefore the source and age of the materials used in that piano. Our design processes are helping close the loop and create social value.