ON THE twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...plans to dispose of our Christmas tree.

While the aftermath of Christmas seems a while away, residents are being urged to think now about what they're going to do with their real trees after the 25th.

This will be the first year Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) will not be collecting real Christmas trees from the kerbside.

The DWP's joint committee approved plans in the summer to cease the free collection of real Christmas trees when placed at the kerbside for collection with rubbish bins.

Local councils are not obliged to collect Christmas trees and, as they were previously disposed of with general rubbish to go to treatment or landfill, this contradicted the DWP’s waste strategy. All other green waste collected by the DWP is composted.

So the DWP says residents should think about other ways to dispose of their trees after the festive period.

If you buy a real Christmas tree, there are various options for what to do once you've finished with it and removed all its decorations:

* If you have a garden waste collection, you can cut your real tree into small pieces and put it in your garden waste bin

* Real Christmas trees can be taken to your local household recycling centre and placed in the garden waste container for composting, free of charge

* Alternatively, you may be able to book a Christmas tree collection with a Dorset-based charity

Residents are also being asked to consider more eco-friendly options such as home composting, or buying a rooted tree that can be kept outside until next year.

Artificial Christmas trees will also not be collected by the DWP. If you can't keep it to use again, take your tree to your local household recycling centre.

Garden waste collections resume from Monday, January 8 after the Christmas break. Household recycling centres are open from 10am to 4pm daily, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Dorset charities Diverse Abilities and Weldmar Hospicecare are currently offering real Christmas tree collections during the first weekend of January in selected areas of Dorset.

For a donation, you can book a collection slot for your tree and have it collected at the kerbside by your home.

Slots are limited, so it is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.

People are also encouraged to enquire with their real Christmas tree retailer, as some offer a collection or drop-off service.

For more information on real Christmas trees, charitable collections and revised collection dates see dorsetforyou.gov.uk/christmas-waste