A fire that broke out at a waste centre near Ipswich is believed to have been started by a battery thrown away with household recycling.

Firefighters were called to the Materials Recycling Facility in Great Blakenham on Friday, June 17.

The blaze was located deep within nearly 400 tonnes of waste and took firefighters and staff almost two hours to extinguish.

Following the incident, Suffolk Waste Partnership, which works with councils to improve waste management in the county, is backing a national campaign to ensure people dispose of batteries safely.

The partnership has signed up to the Stop Battery Fires Campaign launched by national safe electricals recycling group Material Focus, which aims to raise awareness of how householders can properly recycle batteries and electricals.

Batteries, or electricals containing batteries, that end up inside bins or recycling and waste lorries with other materials, get crushed in the waste or recycling process.

This can result in them being punctured and self-combusting, setting fire to dry and flammable waste and recycling around them.

Councillor James Mallinder, chair of Suffolk Waste Partnership, said: “Batteries can be dangerous if placed within recycling and waste bins and can cause fires.

“Please – take them to a dedicated recycling point. Both batteries and electrical items can be recycled at any of Suffolk’s 11 recycling centres, as well as other local recycling banks. Many supermarkets also accept them.

“We also encourage people to reduce the number of batteries they have by using rechargeable batteries where possible. They are more expensive initially but cheaper in the long run.”

Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, added: “People should never bin their electricals or their portable batteries.

“If they can, they should remove any hidden batteries from their electricals and recycle the batteries and electricals separately.

“If they can’t remove the batteries then they should recycle their electricals separately as always.

“Having listened to the numerous stories of flames engulfing waste and recycling trucks as they drive down residential streets, it’s important we all take action now to keep our streets, householders, waste and local authority staff, and fire fighters safe.”