This is the moment a marine flare exploded in the hand of an employee at a recycling plant
The incident has sparked a campaign asking people to 'bin smart'.
The flare had been mixed in with household kerbside recycling that was being sorted at Amey’s Waterbeach waste treatment plant.
The Amey employee was fortunately uninjured.
Operations were stopped and the employee evacuated.
Close inspection of the waste treatment conveyor belt later showed a second flare had also been thrown away.
The incident prompted a warning to residents to ‘think safe’ when throwing out their festive rubbish.
Amey’s Chris Smiles said: “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.
“Thankfully he was protected by his work clothing and was uninjured, but the consequences could have been much worse.”
Chris added: “Now, 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. If you’re not sure how to dispose of an item check your local authority’s website for expert advice.”
Guidance on what can be thrown away at Cambridgeshire’s Household Recycling Centres can be found here.