Recycling rates will have to double if councils are to meet Scottish Executive targets next year, figures have shown.
About a tenth of Scotland's waste was recycled last year
The Accounts Commission said 12.3% of municipal waste was recycled in 2003/04 - up almost 3% on the previous year.
Ministers said this was a "good start" towards hitting the target of 25% by 2006 but said more has to be done to tackle the rising amount of waste.
Environmental groups said there was an urgent need to focus efforts on cutting waste levels.
Angus Council recorded the best recycling figure in Scotland, having already met the 25% target.
Dumfries and Galloway came bottom of the Accounts Commission list, with a figure of just 3.8% last year.
However, Councillor Joan Mitchell said: "It's a poor record because we've been concentrating on coming up with a long-term solution for our waste and that's what we've now got in place."
Meanwhile, an increasing amount of waste - including food that could be turned into compost - is going to landfill sites.
Experts said this is partly because of wasteful shopping, with people buying too much and then finding it is past its sell-by date.
Friends of the Earth's head of research, Dr Dan Barlow, said rising levels of waste were undermining the executive's efforts to reduce the amount being sent to landfill.
The amount collected by councils rose by 3% last year.
"While we welcome the annual increase in recycling, Scotland's garbage is growing faster than recycling," he said.
"Tackling rising waste volumes is vital if Scotland is to ever reduce resource use and its dependence on polluting landfill.
"We've still to see the full effect of the spending from the executive's Strategic Waste Fund.
"However, there is an urgent need for more money and effort to be directed toward cutting waste levels."
He said the slow increase in recycling meant the executive was in danger of missing its 2006 target.
However, he added that the example set by councils like Fife, which saw its recycling figure rise from 5.2% to 16.9% last year, showed it could still be achieved.
Environment Minister Ross Finnie said the executive was committed to transforming Scotland's waste record.
He said councils had received millions of pounds from the Strategic Waste Fund to help them meet recycling and composting targets.
"We have made a good start. However, as the report acknowledges, we still have more to do to meet our target," he said.
"That is why we will continue to work closely with local authorities.
"Every month, recycling becomes easier for Scots with new and improved kerbside facilities, recycling bins and other services being provided across the country."
Mr Finnie added that more had to be done to reduce the amount of waste being produced in the first place.
Green MSP Shiona Baird said: "There needs to be much more emphasis on reducing the amount of waste produced, as part of a zero waste strategy for Scotland.
"Recycling is of limited value if we are creating ever greater amounts of waste - we are simply running to stand still."