UK rubbish
Piles of rubbish discarded after the Glastonbury Festival.Reuters

British dustmen are the targets of violent attacks by homeowners who are angry at convoluted recycling rules.

A recent survey shows that there is a 40% increase in assaults on binmen in the previous 12 months, with the workers being punched, spat at, scalded, threatened with axes and doused in chemicals.

There were 245 verbal and physical attacks in 2014. The cause of such anger is believed to stem from garbage collectors telling householders they have taken out the wrong type of rubbish in the wrong bin, or that extra sacks of refuse would not be collected.

The reports, sourced through freedom of information requests made to councils by The Sun, included documented attacks such as a dustman scalded with hot tea and nail varnish remover thrown in a binman's face by a woman, who was angry that his lorry was blocking the road.

Other instances include a team of rubbish collectors coming face to face with a man brandishing a crowbar for not taking his extra rubbish.

The Local Government Association stated that councils are intent on imposing jail sentences for those who attacked binmen.

"Abuse and assaults are utterly unacceptable," said a spokesman.

Residents are up in arms about 'spying' technology utilised by bin lorries which have touchscreen terminals that send out reports to councils on residents who don't adhere to rules on putting their bins out at the correct times. Those caught out could be fined up to £80.

UK councils are increasing recycling to meet EU targets and need to abide by directives to separately collect paper, metal, glass and plastic.

However, government officials say it is unlikely that the UK will hit the EU target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2020.