Fears have been raised over Scotland’s ability to meet its key 2025 waste targets amid concerns SNP and Greens ministers are trying to run before they can walk in rolling out the troubled deposit return scheme.

Environmental campaigners have scolded Humza Yousaf’s government for setting ambitious targets which are “then shelved when businesses complain”.

The latest statistics from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) shows that Scotland is only on track to meet one of its four key waste targets in 2025.

According to the latest statistics by Sepa, for 2021, Scotland is off track meeting a proposed landfill ban in 2025, as well as recycling 70 per cent of waste.

As of 2021, 30.2% of waste was being sent to landfill, while only 56.3% of waste was recycled.

Read more: SNP Net Zero Secretary claims UK wants Scotland to test water on DRS

The Scottish Government has also committed to reducing food waste by 33% against 2013 levels by 2025, but Sepa does not hold data for food waste.

But there is some good news, with Sepa data showing that against a key target to reduce total waste by 15% against 2011 levels, that has been reduced by 19.9% between 2011 and 2021.

Data for 2019 and 2020 is not available due to a cyber attack on Sepa.

The Scottish Government has delayed the rollout of the deposit return scheme (DRS) for the second time.

Scottish ministers have blamed the delay on the UK Government over a row about an internal market act exclusion, but have relaxed rules around businesses amid a backlash from industry. 

Read more: Humza Yousaf delays deposit return scheme after backlash

But Conservatives have warned that the lack of progress shows the Scottish Government is not backing up commitments with action.

Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “Scotland is now paying the price in environmental terms for years of SNP failure.

“It’s abundantly clear that the 2025 targets won’t be met, and the Scottish Government will be lucky if it even comes close.

“DRS was seen as an easy fix to all this, but ministers have bungled it badly and set things back even further.

“But even if it had been launched on time and was running efficiently, drastic interventions would still be required.

The Herald: Conservative MSP Maurice GoldenConservative MSP Maurice Golden (Image: PA)

“For far too long both the SNP and the Greens have spoken warm words about reducing emissions and protecting the environment.

“But neither have any idea how to implement these ideas practically and responsibly.

“The Scottish Government set all of these targets then made little attempt to get close to meeting them.

“That means vital environmental opportunities have been missed, and ministers have ostracised businesses and the general public in the process.”

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It is disappointing that so little progress has been made towards Scotland’s waste targets.

“In Wales, greater levels of investment and access to high quality recycling services has led to real progress which the Scottish Government should learn from.

“Whilst Scotland’s recycling rate has been stuck at around 43% for a decade, Wales has seen its recycling rate increase from below Scotland’s to 65% and they are likely to meet their 70% target.”

Read more: Concern SNP Greens Government rowing back on incineration ban promise

She added: “The First Minister’s recent decision to unnecessarily delay Scotland’s long-awaited deposit return scheme again shows the Scottish Government’s lack of commitment.

“Impressive plans are made, but then shelved when businesses complain.

“We are living in a climate crisis and the Scottish Government must be brave enough to take action, as well as make promises, if it wants to turn Scotland’s waste system around.”

Sarah Boyack said: "The Scottish Government waxes lyrical about net zero but they have made much less progress than they should have.

"From the absolute debacle of the DRS to selling off Scotland's green energy sector to foreign investors on the cheap, the SNP have neglected our net zero targets time and time again.

"Only Scottish Labour has a real plan for net zero that will include a UK wide green energy plan that will bring thousands of jobs into Scotland and reduce energy bills for people across the country."

A Zero Waste Scotland spokesperson said: “Climate change remains the biggest, long-term threat to our society, that’s why Scotland has ambitious targets in place to help drive a circular economy and curb our contribution to the climate crisis.

Read more: Greens 'put US hedge fund ahead of Scots businesses' in bottle scheme

“Emissions from the waste and resources sector have reduced by almost three quarters over the past 20 years. However, progress has slowed in recent years, and we know that if we’re to meet all our targets in full, we need system-wide changes.

“This is why measures such as Scotland’s deposit return scheme and forthcoming Circular Economy Bill and route map are so important. They’re specifically designed to drive us towards those targets, and Zero Waste Scotland will continue to work with the Scottish Government to promote their vast environmental benefits.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland has made significant long-term progress on reducing waste and we are taking action to accelerate progress towards our ambitious waste and recycling targets.

“This includes Scotland’s deposit return scheme, which will captures hundreds of millions of bottles and cans every year for recycling.

“Our £70 million recycling improvement fund has already supported 17 councils to modernise their local recycling facilities and later this year we will publish a waste and circular economy routemap, which will set out the additional actions we will take to deliver on our waste targets.

“Alongside our Circular Economy Bill, this will support Scotland’s transition to an economy that makes the best use of resources and minimises waste.”