FEWER than a third of Scottish councils have met the national target to recycle half of their household waste, official figures show.
Nine local authorities recycled more than 50 per cent of their waste last year, with the remaining 23 lagging behind the Scottish Government target to recycle half of all waste by 2013.
Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Falkirk and Perth and Kinross recycled the highest proportion of waste, at over 55 per cent.
Clackmannanshire was also among the most improved councils, recycling seven percentage points more waste than in 2011, while Inverclyde and Moray boosted their recycling by nine points and seven points respectively to meet the 50 per cent target.
East Renfrewshire, Fife and North Ayrshire were the three other local authorities to meet the target.
Shetland, Dumfries and Galloway, Orkney and Glasgow recycled the lowest proportion of waste, ranging from 13 per cent to 29 per cent.
Orkney and Shetland were among the areas where performance regressed, with a recycling rate seven and three percentage points lower than in 2011 respectively.
Recycling also slid by more than three points in the Borders and Renfrewshire.
Scottish households recycled 41.2 per cent of their waste on average in 2012, up 1.1 points on the previous year, with one year to go to meet the 2013 target.
The Scottish Government’s long-term aim is to recycle 70 per cent of Scotland’s waste by 2025.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Today’s figures show that over half of Scotland’s local authorities are above the national recycling average, with nine already hitting the 50 per cent target – two more than last year.
“We can also see that Scottish households produced 100,000 tonnes less waste last year.
“Building on and accelerating this progress is a priority for the Scottish Government, as it is for local authorities, and that is why we’ve invested £20 million to help local authorities roll out food waste collections to households across the country.
“Close to half a million households have received a new food waste service already this year, meaning that one million households in Scotland now have a service to collect and recycle their food waste.
“The impact of this investment will be seen in next year’s figures.”
Mr Lochhead went on: “The Scottish Government will continue to seek the advice of Zero Waste Scotland on what other initiatives can be taken forward to improve Scotland’s recycling performance, including a national deposit-return scheme.
“However, the zero waste agenda is about much more than just recycling – it’s about turning our waste into an economic asset that will improve the competitiveness of Scotland’s economy.
“We continue to work closely with the businesses and organisations like the Ellen Macarthur Foundation to stimulate these important opportunities.”
The local authority umbrella group Cosla said it was “committed to the Scottish Government’s zero waste plan”.
Cosla’s waste spokesman Stephen Hagan said: “The waste statistics show that communities across Scotland are continuing to reduce waste and that recycling is continuing to increase.
“Working with their communities over the last decade, councils have achieved an increase in the national recycling rate from 5 per cent to over 40 per cent.
“Local authorities are committed to the Scottish Government’s zero waste plan and to working in partnership with their communities, Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to address the challenges to meeting future targets.”