Unwanted donations to a Richmond opportunity store are costing hundreds of dollars a month to dispose of.
St Vincent de Paul Richmond operations manager Penny Marks described people leaving unwanted junk outside of the charity while it was closed as a "problem with a capital P."
The problem occurred on a daily basis, she said.
"We wouldn't come to work without something being dumped outside."
Everything from broken couches and beds to faulty televisions were left.
While some items could then be put out with a 'free' sign on it, there was often nothing left in a sellable condition, Ms Marks said.
In the worst cases, it was costing $600-$700 a month to get rid of the unwanted 'donations'.
Unwanted clothing could be recycled and sent to Bangladesh, but there was nothing they could do with broken, unwanted furniture, she said.
"People should just put stuff in their red bins.
"The problem is, it may be in a sellable condition, but then they put it outside and it rains and it costs twice as much to dump because it's heavier."
Clothing bins were available for after hours donations and the store was happy to pick up quality furniture donations, she said.
Nationally, Salvation Army stores have received mouldy clothes, broken electrical equipment and even full bags of household rubbish.
Salvation Army spokeswoman Major Christina Tyson said junk left outside Salvation Army stores was a seasonal problem which peaked around Christmas and dropped back as people went back to work.
Although $600,000 was spent last year disposing of rubbish, the cost was spread over 125 stores, meaning an average disposal cost of $4800, she said.
"It is the nature of what we've always had to do.
"We're not wanting to sound mean spirited about it, we accept that it is a cost of doing business."
It was just "part and parcel" of operating second-hand goods business.
Ms Tyson said the stores had worked on their signage to ensure would-be donors knew it was better to drop off goods when the stores were open.
"Then there's the security of knowing things will make it inside the store and they're not exposed to the elements."
Salvation Army family store consultant Fraser Kearse said while there were varying levels of quality in the goods donated, the vast majority were usable.
Goods that were not sellable in the family stores could be used for other means, he said.
"We go through a recycling process and in terms of clothing that includes things like ragging, where that material is turned into rags that we can then sell."
Other clothes that weren't suitable for the family stores were packed into bales and sent to poorer countries, he said.
"Occasionally you might get an actual rubbish bag [filled with] someone's household refuse, but that's so few and far between that if that happens it just gets popped into the skip bin."
Mr Kearse said the amount of donations varied widely store-to-store.
While some donors knew what they were dropping off was of a very low quality, they were a minority, he said.
No one should be discouraged from donating goods, Mr Kearse said.
"At the end of the day, without our donors, our Salvation Army stores wouldn't exist."