Marine flare explosion after being mixed with household recycling leads to warning from Waterbeach company Amey about throwing out festive rubbish

PUBLISHED: 15:06 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:09 12 December 2017

This is the moment a marine flare explodes in a man's hands and ricochets around the room. PHOTO: Amey.

This is the moment a marine flare explodes in a man's hands and ricochets around the room. PHOTO: Amey.


A worker escaped injury when a flare exploded in his hands at an East Cambs recycling centre.

This is the moment a marine flare explodes in a man's hands and ricochets around the room. PHOTO: Amey.This is the moment a marine flare explodes in a man's hands and ricochets around the room. PHOTO: Amey.

“The marine flare came through with aluminium recycling but exploded in the hands of one of our employees when it reached our manual sorting area,” said Chris Smiles of the Waterbeach Materials Recycling Plant (MRF).

“Thankfully he was protected by his work clothing and was uninjured, but the consequences could have been much worse.”

The flare ricocheted around a waste treatment room at the Waterbeach company.

It had been mixed in with household kerbside recycling and has led to a warning from the company about throwing out their festive rubbish.

He said their employee stopped operations and evacuated after the flare exploded, but close inspection of the waste treatment conveyor belt later showed a second flare had also been thrown away.

Amey is urging Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents to ‘think safe’ when throwing out their festive rubbish after the flare exploded in the hands of their employee.

Mr Smiles said: “We deal with a range of waste for local authorities and businesses, which includes items which have been put out for kerbside recycling.”

“With Christmas almost upon us, we’re urging residents to ‘think safe’ and consider whether an item could be a risk before throwing it away.

“For example, many presents will come with batteries but throwing items such as batteries (particularly lithium batteries found in mobile phones) in with general rubbish can cause a fire.

“No fire risk item should be placed in your normal or recycling bin – whether that’s a flare, fireworks, shotgun cartridges, gas cylinders or batteries. If you’re not sure how to dispose of an item check your local authority’s website for expert advice.”

Household waste can be recycled at any of the centres including aerosols, batteries, bicycles and bicycle tyres, bulky items, cardboard, car parts excluding vehicle tyres, carpets, chemicals, Christmas cards, clothes and textiles, computers, computer games, cooking oil, electrical items small and large, engine oil and filters and household fire extinguishers.

Amey delivers a range of waste services from its 400 acre Waste Management Park at Waterbeach.

The Waste Management Park also acts as a transfer station for the collection and sorting of waste from local businesses and councils.

Its on-site teams offer a range of services to local residents.

1 comment

  • What idiot would put any kind of pyrotechnic into recycling or waste disposal? It should be obvious to anyone who has experience of these flares that there is potential for recycling machinery to trigger them and cause injury or a fire. Looks to me like a distress rocket flare normally kept on seagoing yachts. The coastguard accepts these flares for disposal. In the video it looks as if the waste operative does not recognise what the device is and manages to trigger it , thus launching the rocket from the tube - which when launched skyward as a distress flare reaches a height of 1000 feet and speed of 200 mph. They can be lethal if not used properly.

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    Thursday, December 14, 2017

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