Residents in Edinburgh's Portobello have a novel way of dealing with the wilting remains of their real Christmas trees - taking them on to the beach and burning them.

The annual tradition has been going on for several years now and sees scores of evergreens 'planted' on the beach before being set on fire to mark the end of the festive season.

The unofficial community event sees locals gather on the beach at various times to set their trees alight, with many saying it offers a novel way for them to dispose of their tree.

Portobello resident Lee Kindness said: "Personally I’ve been doing it for many years with fellow neighbours – I organised a Christmas tree bonfire we had on the beach on Sunday night. 

"It’s a nice way to round off the Christmas season and helps stop the trees blowing all around the streets too!"

The issue of how to dispose of Christmas trees can often cause problems for those who have enjoyed their beauty over the festive period.

But there are several ways to get rid of the trees correctly and in a manner that makes a big difference to their carbon footprint.

Most Scottish councils now offer recycling or composting services for real trees to cut down on waste dumped in landfill.

But in some areas, there are also more novel ways to say goodbye.

For example in St Andrews, Christmas trees are being used to help stop coastal erosion, with hundreds of them being placed at the Fife town's West Sands and covered over with sand.

And in Renfrewshire, a local Scout troop is also raising funds by offering to pick up your tree for a donation and shred it off-site to be used as compost.

According to Andrew Pankhurst from Zero Waste Scotland, the greenest option is to opt for a real tree in a pot.

"If you did do that then the most sustainable thing to do with it is plant it in your garden, if you have space for it, " he said. "Then you can just dig it back up next year and use it again.

"However, the vast majority of real trees that people buy don't come with a root system, they are just cut. 

"If we put real Christmas trees into our landfill collections it's the same as throwing away food waste, so when it goes to landfill it does break down but it creates methane which contributes to climate change."

He said the best thing to do with a real Christmas tree was to get it composted.

"If you have a green waste collection or a garden bin then you can chop the smaller branches off and put them in there. 

"Or you can take it to your local recycling centre where they usually have a special place for them."

A list compiled by the BBC shows the services available for recycling trees in different local authorities - 

Aberdeen city - Trees can be recycled at recycling centres, or residents with household wheelie bins will have their real Christmas tree collected on their usual brown bin day from 6 to 17 January, and the tree should be placed alongside the brown bin. Communal bin users should leave their tree by their bins for collection, which will take place between 6 and 17 January.

Aberdeenshire - Real trees can be dropped in green waste bins at recycling centres.

Angus - Christmas trees can be cut up and placed in green garden waste bins or taken to a recycling centre.

Argyll and Bute - Trees to be taken to a recycling centres for composting.

Clackmannanshire - Christmas trees can be disposed of alongside the garden waste at the Forthbank recycling centre in Alloa. The waste will be sent elsewhere to be made into a "compost-like soil enhancer".

Dumfries and Galloway - Real Christmas trees can be taken to a household waste recycling centre as green waste. If you are able to compost at home, the branches can go into a garden compost bin. Alternatively, real trees can be cut into lengths up to 1m long and placed out for collection alongside wheeled bins or refuse sacks until 17 January.

Dundee - You can request your tree to be uplifted by the council from the week beginning 6 January. It will then be shredded to produce compost which you can buy for your own garden. Or you can take it to certain recycling centres.

East Ayrshire - Real Christmas trees can be taken to the recycling centres. Free sacks are available for storage and transportation.

East Dunbartonshire - Skips are arranged in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and Bearsden for locals to put their Christmas trees in. They will be in place from 5 January. Or residents can arrange for a Christmas tree or a one-off collection of garden waste bin to be picked up free of charge between 18 and 25 January.

East Lothian - Real Christmas trees can be composted by taking them to a Recycling Centre or presenting them beside brown bins on garden waste collection dates in January.

East Renfrewshire - Free kerbside recycling on 6 January. Leave it on the kerb or put it in your brown bin (if it fits). If the council doesn't pick up the Christmas tree on this day, it will be collected in the following days.

Edinburgh - Free kerbside pickup is available for trees to be recycled into compost. Collection dates vary by street. Trees must be prepared by removing stand or base, decorations, cutting it in half if it is 1.8m (6ft) or taller.

Falkirk- Trees can be taken to recycling centres or a bulky uplift or brown bin collection can be arranged via Falkirk Council.

Fife - You can recycle your real Christmas tree in your brown bin, or take it to a recycling centre. If you are putting it in the brown bin, you must be able to close the lid.

Glasgow - Real Christmas trees can be put in the brown bin for kerbside collection for those who have one - you need to be able to close the lid, though. Alternatively, trees can be taken to any of the council recycling centres, or taken to one of the three recycling points in Kelvingrove, Pollok or Alexandra Parks between 3 and 19 January.

Highland - Householders should take Christmas trees to their local recycling centres for composting.

Inverclyde - Real Christmas trees can be taken to the Pottery Street recycling centre. The Kirn Drive recycling centre is currently closed and its replacement at Craigmuschat Quarry, does not have the facilities to accept Christmas trees.

Midlothian - If you cannot take your tree to your nearest recycling centre, the council will arrange a bulky uplift for a charge of £26.

Moray - You can recycle your tree by putting it out next to your brown bin, or taking it to your nearest manned recycling centre. All Christmas trees collected in Moray are turned into compost.

North Ayrshire - Christmas trees will be collected if they are in sections of 1.5m (5ft) or less. You can check the collection date for your address here.

North Lanarkshire - A special uplift of your tree can be arranged via the council for free by phoning 01698 403110. The trees are composted. Or you can take them to one of six recycling centres.

Orkney Islands - The council will do a Christmas tree collection in February for households within the 30mph zones on the Orkney Mainland and in the connected South Isles. Alternatively, they can be taken to local recycling centres.

Perth and Kinross - You can chop up your tree and put it in your brown-lidded bin if you have a garden waste permit, or take it to a local recycling centre.

Renfrewshire - Real Christmas trees should be taken to your nearest recycling site and put in the green waste skips.

Scottish Borders - Take your tree to any recycling centre for composting.

Shetland Islands - Two local wildlife sanctuaries are collecting Christmas trees for their animals.

South Ayrshire - To recycle your tree, cut it up and put it in your brown bin. You should arrange a free winter brown bin collection.

South Lanarkshire - Real Christmas trees can be taken to recycling centres. Vans or cars with trailers must phone to pre-book for the Carluke site.

Stirling - Real Christmas trees can be left in the garden waste skips at any of the council's three recycling centres, or can be chopped up and placed in household brown bins.

West Dunbartonshire - Real trees can be recycled at two recycling centres - in Renton and Old Kilpatrick. Alternatively, leave them next to (not in) your brown bin for a kerbside collection. Cut it if it is taller than the brown bin.

Western Isles - Real trees can be taken to the household waste recycling plant in Stornoway where they will be dealt with as garden waste.

West Lothian - Real trees with decorations removed can go in brown bids - as long as the bin lid closes. If the tree is too big, it will need to be chopped up to fit.