SNP and Green ministers have been accused of “failure in delivery” of environmental aims after it was revealed almost 6,500 tonnes of plastic packaging waste has been shipped overseas over the last four years.

The figures, obtained from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), show that between 2018 and 2022, around 100 tonnes a month every month of plastic packaging waste was exported from Scotland.

The statistics show that for the four-year period, 2,948 tonnes of plastic was exported to Ireland, 1,670 tonnes to Spain, 176 tonnes to Belgium, 74 tonnes to the Netherlands and 71 tonnes to Germany.

But outside of the European Union, Scotland exported 1,510 tonnes of plastic waste to Turkey.

Read more: Warning SNP's key waste targets off track despite delayed DRS roll-out

The Scottish Government said that responsibility for exported waste lies with the UK Government, but insisted it was making improvements to recycling infrastructure.

The UK exports around 60 per cent of the more than 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste it creates.

In November last year, the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, heard accounts of British plastic waste being dumped and burned in Turkey, causing “irreversible and shocking” environmental and human health impacts.

The committee has called for a ban on the export of all plastic waste from the UK by 2027.

Scotland is a founding signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's new plastics economy global commitment to end plastic pollution.

Read more: Scotland's deposit charge could change if UK 'impose' DRS on nations

This means a commitment that all plastic packaging is reused, recycled or composted, with an elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging.

The Scottish Government also aims to match the EU ambition for all plastic packaging to be economically recyclable or reusable by 2030.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: "Sadly, this is just the latest example of the Scottish Government’s failure in delivery of environmental policy.

"I’ve worked in the waste sector, and as an MSP I have repeatedly called for the creation of a new Scottish plastic recycling facility to keep resources in Scotland – yet despite the SNP-Greens’ lofty rhetoric on the environment, these calls have been ignored."

He added: "So, not only is the transportation of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste elsewhere needlessly harmful for the environment, but it means that Scotland will miss out on vital green jobs.

“This is a government out of touch with no vision and the loser is Scotland and our environment."

The latest statistics from Sepa also show that Scotland is only on track to meet one of its four key waste targets in 2025.

According to the latest statistics, for 2021, Scotland is off track in 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.

But Sepa data shows 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.

Read more: SNP raised DRS concerns three years ago despite '11th hour' claim

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

A spokesperson for Sepa said: “Sepa is responsible for enforcing the waste shipment regulations, which are designed to protect against the potential harm to the environment and health of the population in receiving countries.

“We do this by conducting inspections at waste sites and ports throughout Scotland to monitor waste quality and suitability where it may be intended for export.

“Where non-compliances are detected, an investigation is carried out and any enforcement action is taken in line with our published guidance.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want to be able to manage more of our own waste within Scotland and strengthen public confidence in where their recycling goes.

“That is why we are continuing to work with potential investors in plastic reprocessing capacity in Scotland and making direct investments through our recycling improvement fund to support greater quantity and quality of recyclate collected, which will create significant economic opportunities for investment in recycling capacity.”

“However, international waste export legislation is a reserved matter for the UK Government.

“We are working with the UK Government to support the delivery of its existing commitment to ban plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries, while urging it to go further and to ban the export of plastic waste from the UK to all countries.”