Recycling rates are improving in Scotland but are still below the European average, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). It has released its seventh annual Waste Data Digest which gives facts and figures on household and business waste for 2005/06. A number of European countries are recycling over 50% of their municipal waste. According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Netherlands recycles 59% of its municipal waste compared with Scotlands 24.4%. But the country has improved its municipal rate from 17.5% in the years 2004/05 to 24.4% in 2005/06. Despite improvements in recycling rates, the amount of waste produced has gone up by 10%. According to SEPA, much of this increase can be tied to a boom in construction. Waste from building and demolition rose from 7.3 million tonnes to 10.6 million tonnes. Environmental data unit manager Bill Protector said: The drop in waste landfilled in the past year can be largely explained by a reduction in the amount of waste being sent to landfill by Scottish local authorities. The Scottish Executive has set strict targets on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste up to 2020 and the drop reflects the efforts being taken to achieve these targets. Although we are seeing a significant fall in the amount of waste being sent to landfill, there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure these targets are met. Much of the progress to date is being achieved through the implementation and delivery of Scotlands National Waste Plan. We are already seeing a municipal recycling rate of almost 25%.