Scotland has hit its recycling and compost targets for 2008 but looks unlikely to repeat this success story for the next set of targets in 2010.
Figures published this week by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that the country has managed a small increase in recycling over the last year, with the national rate hovering just above the target of 30% at 31.2%.
SEPA says that while it is encouraging to see this milestone reached, current efforts are unlikely to be enough to meet the challenging targets set out by the Cabinet Minister Richard Lochhead in January this year.
"To reach the next target of 40% by 2010 will be the responsibility of everyone in Scotland to take part, not just an issue for the local authorities," said a statement from the agency.
While it is relatively easy for local authorities to make quick gains through changes to their waste management systems - by offering kerbside collections or offering to compost garden waste, for example - there comes a point when further improvements require a cultural shift on the part of the public and corporate citizens.
Head of the waste unit, Kenny Boag said: "The latest figures released are positive news and Scotland has made great efforts to meet the recycling and compost targets over the past few years, but we can't slow down yet.
"The targets for the future are very challenging and if we are to meet them we will need to increase our efforts.
"We all need to do more to minimise waste growth in our local areas and then continue to maximise recycling to keep up the result we have seen to date."
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