Our binmen have often finished a day's work before many of us have even made it out of bed - but is it polite to recognise their hard work with a Christmas tip?

Whether your bin is purple, green or otherwise, our binmen are responsible for collecting the rubbish outside our houses week in, week out.

Some are employed directly by the local council while others are contracted in through private companies, with salaries ranging from £18,000 to nearly £24,000.

But when it comes to Christmas, lots of us are left wondering what the correct etiquette is around tipping refuse collectors.

While some make a point of tipping without fail each years, others are dead against the idea of leaving anything for their binmen.

Some people opt for a cash tip, with others leaving some beers or another gift ready for collection day.

We asked ECHO readers for their thoughts on whether you should tip your binmen at Christmas in a Facebook post - and it prompted a lot of debate.

More than 600 people commented to have their say on what's the right thing to do - here's what they said.

"No one tips me for doing my job"

Stuart Tindall had one of the nicest replies to our question, and was roundly praised by fellow readers for his response.

He said: "I'm a binman couldn't care less if people tip us or not - go to your local hospital and tip the nurses who have to work Christmas day and do a fantastic job."

Peter Farrell responded to his comment saying: "Well said Stuart Tindall - but if you're my bin man you’ll find a drink waiting for you."

Jo Hammond said she wouldn't be tipping, because she feels like she does enough work herself on bin day. She said: "In my youth the binmen walked up the path, took the lid off, carried bin out, emptied it, bought it back, put the lid back on. Then I tipped.

"Now, I have to take it out, point the handle in the right direction, make sure the lid is not bulging, then bring it back. I don't tip."

Binmen in Knowsley. Waste collections are different over Christmas and New Year.

Gary Riley joked: "Yeah I put a grand in a white envelope for them - it was so full I couldn't seal the envelope down and they wouldn't take it!"

Lisa Wyatt took a firm stance, saying: "Nope. They get paid quite sufficiently here on the Wirral! Anyway what do they do that's so special? It's their job isn't it? Do we tip our doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers? Guessing that's a no!"

Steven Byrne said: "Our binmen can’t even walk back up the drive with the bin! And they're neither helpful or pleasant, so no I wouldn’t tip them. However our lovely posties and window cleaner will get one."

Becky Ashton said: "No one tips me for doing the job I get paid to do, so I never understand this - especially now when we have to do all the work for the binmen."

Hayl Chapple said: "Not anymore - used to give them £20 in a card. But probably haven't for the last six years. Putting notes on the bins saying 'lid not fully closed', leaving the bin on the road, leaving rubbish all over the floor. Our postman/lady gets a card and tip though every year."

Pat Greenhorn said: "I used to but they call so early now I never see them! Plus we have three different lots cos of the recycling and I couldn't afford three lots of tips!"

Joseph Quinn said: "Years ago a binman would walk up your path, heavy the bin on his shoulder carry it to van, empty it then walk it back up your path. If anything dropped out of the bin they would pick it up and put it in van."

Martina Roberts claimed she'd be burned before for trying to be generous, saying: "I left an envelope with £30 in last year for my binmen to have a hot chocolate, coffee or whatever they might like. I thanked them and wished them happy Christmas. Not one of them said thanks. So I won't be doing it this year. They are as miserable as anything and trying to spread a bit of Christmas cheer definitely didn't work for them."

"Definitely £20 - they do a good job in all weathers"

Eric Penman said: "I worked as a postman and appreciated a shilling off a pensioner as much as £20 off a business, so we always tip our binmen working in all kinds of weather all year."

Jason Peacock responded to refuse worker Stuart Tindall's comment about emergency services staff said: "Well said. Years ago my nan tipped the binman. But it was different then. I couldn't tell you who my binman is. But i do appreciate the work you do."

Rosina Brown said: "I have assisted help and they are very good to me. Also the postman yes - still traditionally tip and pleased to."

Sue Garnett said: "They always got a Christmas box as did the postman."

Joan Owen said: "I always have because my mum always did."

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Tracy Humphreys said: "I’ve got to say where I live, the milkman is great, the postman will call back if he has a parcel for me and the binmen are okay. Yes I give them all a few bob or chocolates."

Janet Champion said: "Yes always have - mine as so funny, Christmas hats on all year round. And postman Paul my mum anf dad always did so I think us older generation carry it on."

Another refuse worker, Darren Holt, gave his insight in the comments, saying: "Being a binman you’ll be surprised how many people still do. I think it’s because if you look after your customers all year they look after you. Ho ho ho merry Christmas, remember a binman man is for life not just for Christmas."

Hayley Casey said: "I get them a box of chocolates to share. Not much, but my daughter loves the binmen and they are always happy to see her. They also help me out if I've got a heavy bin bag that I can't get up the garden stairs. I can't fault them to be honest."

Good news if you're a binman around John Stansfield's area, after he commented to say: "Definitely £20 - they do a good job in all weathers."

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Should you tip your binman at Christmas?

June Chiocchi-Smith said: "Always tip binmen, postman, chap who cleans the wheelie bin and the milkman. Least you can do when they are looking after you all year. Just nice to say thank you."

Sue Mahoney said: "Yes always leave envelopes for postie, milkman and binmen."

Colin Lee is a reliable Christmas tipper, saying: "Never missed in last 50 years, I ran a dairy for over 30 years so I know they all earn it!"