From Knives to Chain Saws, Georgia to Sell Air Traveler Discards

A butcher knife and a chain saw are among the hundreds of items discarded at the security checkpoints of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that will go on sale starting Monday at new state government thrift stores.

They are among thousands of items - from pocket knifes to power tools - banned from airplanes that have accumulated at security checkpoints. The proceeds are going to the state of Georgia.

Each month, the federal Transportation Security Administration sends the state a pallet of government-issue plastic vats full of knives, scissors, baseball bats, barbells, toy guns and other items discarded or confiscated at airports.

"There's too much of it," said Steve Ekin, director of the Georgia Surplus Property Division.

A new law signed by Georgia's governor in April paved the way for the state-operated thrift stores to sell items without going through a bidding process, the typical way a government agency sells unwanted surplus.

Other states have profited from the sale of castoff items. Pennsylvania accepts discarded checkpoint items from contractors at 12 airports in five states and sells them to the highest bidders on the online auction site eBay.

Kentucky and Alabama state employees travel to Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami international airports to pick up discarded items. Kentucky sells the items on eBay; Alabama tries to sell them cheap to nonprofit groups before offering them to the public at live auctions.


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