The Salvation Army has appealed for people to stop dumping unusable items at their stores these holidays, saying it costs millions of dollars to dispose of junk.
Salvation Army area manager Philip Cooke said illegal dumping was a huge problem for many charitable organisations, and the region's Salvos shops were no exception.
"We have seven stores in the Illawarra - the one in Westfield Warrawong is not an issue for illegal dumping but our other six stores cop their fair share," he said.
The Salvos are also urging people not to deposit good quality clothing, toys, furniture and other items at stores outside opening hours, as they could be stolen or damaged by rain.
NSW Stores Chaplain Major Robert Sneller urged donors to only give items they would still use themselves. The January holiday period was a time when Salvos stores staff and volunteers were under more pressure than usual because of the volume of donated items that needed processing.
Dealing with unusable items cost the Salvation Army around $5 million a year.
That money could be better spent helping people in need, it says.