That's the view of one major British plant hire company that sees the amount of idle equipment in industrial units, factories, warehouses and other sites up and down the country.
With the price of scrap metal back on the rise*, CraneHireUK.co.uk wonders why many businesses haven't cashed in on their old equipment and put the proceeds to good use.
"There are crazy amounts of money being left doing nothing in our factories," says CraneHireUK.co.uk 's Mark Hall, "It takes up space and we're certain it can be put to better use elsewhere. Old equipment is always a risk to leave lying around, so it makes far better sense to recycle or reuse."
"It's hard to put a precise figure on the amount of unused plant that's going to waste, and that's mainly down to a lack of formal studies," said Hall, "However, it's something that our on-site crane operating teams see virtually every day, so it's clearly a national problem with huge amounts of capacity going spare."
According to latest market figures, the *price of scrap metal has started to rise again after levelling out in the middle of 2013. Steel and lead scrap are now above the levels we saw at the beginning of the year; and copper is accelerating after a minor price slump during the summer, driven by demand in the Far East.
The biggest problem with shifting old plant is the cost to do so, factory bosses have told Crane Hire UK. The mere act of shifting a large machine from the shop floor to the back of a lorry has been – in the past – prohibitively expensive for some companies which prefer just to abandon the equipment instead.
"We no longer think that's a fair assumption," says Hall, "We've managed to squeeze down our costs, which means that the hire of a suitable crane for a single day would easily be cost-effective. The economics of waste and recycling have changed considerably in the past few years, and values-per-ton easily makes these operations viable."
CraneHireUK.co.uk also thinks that freed-up space on shop floors will also help with future, problem-free expansion.
"The message is a simple one: If you've got old plant rotting in your factory or site, you can move it It will be far cheaper than you think, and it will make you a few bob in the process."
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