TONNES of unusable donations and rubbish dumped outside Salvation Army stores across Australia over Christmas have left the charity with its biggest multi-million dollar headache.
The latest dumping means this year's clean-up bill for the Salvos will exceed a record $6 million, says Neville Barrett, general manager of their stores.
"It's absolutely disgusting, when that money could be so well used,'' he told AAP today.
The dumping had become the norm around this time of year "but never to this degree'', he said.
The national dumping costs at council tips last year was $5.3 million.
"Additional costs are also incurred through drivers and trucks being tied up taking rubbish to the tip when they should be picking up donations,'' he said.
He stressed the Salvos appreciated donations of good quality furniture, clothing and other items.
Multi-million dollar headache
Record clean up toll $6m+
'It's absolutely disgusting'
"The criteria for donations are items which you would continue to use yourself, but which are superfluous to your needs,'' he said.
As well as unusable donations, Mr Barrett said people dumped bags of household refuse outside stores.
"When you have a holiday season where there are a couple of public holidays together, people are celebrating with seafood are other things, and you get a whole lot of rubbish dumped,'' he said.
"They know that it smells and is not going to get collected by the garbage right away.''
He also asked that people do not leave their genuine donations outside stores after hours, as quality items were stolen, vandalised or damaged by the weather.
"In recent months, there have also been several arson attacks after rubbish left outside our stores has been set alight causing substantial damage to the stores concerned,'' he said.
He lamented that some people "go without to donate to the Salvos'', but when the items were left outside business hours, they did not benefit those in need.