Non-profit organizations around Nova Scotia say illegal dumping at outdoor donation bins aimed at raising money is actually costing them money.

Kim Goodson, with the Halifax branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, says she's come across needles, broken toilets, and even jars of grease.

She says charities pay to remove the garbage and that cuts into the donation money.

Goodson said it’s not only the monetary cost, but also the time required to sort out the junk.

"I'd say it's about a third of their time that they spend dealing with items that are donated but we're not able to use them. Our drivers work really hard to keep our bin sites as pristine as they can at all times. We have almost 60 bins, we collect at almost all of them every single day," she said.

“It doesn't matter if it's five cents or $5,000, that's five cents and $5,000 that isn't going back to our cause, so I’m not happy with any of the costs.”

Joanna Dunn, with the Canadian Diabetes Association, says unsalvageable items get turfed.

She's also asking people to stop leaving mattresses.

“They take up a lot of room outside the bin. It tends to make the area look unsightly at the business that's hosting the bin and we aren't able to reuse or resell mattresses,” she said.

Both organizations say they're grateful for donations.

They say if you have something and are not sure if it can be donated, you should call ahead and ask. People are also encouraged to call when they see a bin is full.