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Piano Disposal

Do not read this post if you are a piano fan with a weak stomach.

Sadly, a problem for our modern age is how dispose of an old piano. The piano is not the must-have living room item for the middle class that it once was. The size and weight make them incovenient to move, especially if all your potential takers are ambivalent about owning one in the first place. Many people find them in an elderly relative's home after the relative has broken up housekeeping. Or left behind in a rented garage, or discarded from a church basement, or... you get the idea. Even if a new potential owner can be found, a neglected piano can be prohibitively expensive to rehabilitate. And, reality of it is that pianos though long-lived are not immortal, especially the less expensive brands that were popular in the 20th century. For all these reasons the 21st century has to see to the disposition of the remains.

Who do you call to dispose of a 500 pound chunk of metal and lacquered wood? I imagine it's a bit like modern equivalent of disposing if a dead horse in the city. Can't bury it in the backyard...now what?

Well, in the New York Times recently there was the unsettling story of piano disposal. Some piano movers will, for an extra fee, discretely take the piano off your hands. Some of the nicer, well-branded ones are resold, but only the best make that cut. The rest are broken down. Sometimes working parts are scavenged, but the supply outstrips demand. The metal can be salvaged. (There's a good bit of metal in a piano, so if you are shopping for a disposer, find a company that will at least bother recycle.) The wood, however, is burned or landfilled.

OK, enough of that gloomy story. Now, for your entertainment here's a video of pianos being dumped in a landfill. Enjoy!

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Source: NYT
Image based on original by Jeramey Jannene (originally posted to Flickr as Moldy Piano) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

08/17/12