What Does The TSA Do With The Stuff It’s Confiscated From Passengers?

by SharonKurheg

The TSA screens tens of millions of passengers at airports every week and confiscates lots and lots and LOTS of items deemed ineligible for flight. Guns, knives and other weapons come to mind first, but just about anything marked with a big, red No on the “What can I Bring?” page of the TSA’s website can be taken away from you.

What they do with it all varies from item to item. Some of it is donated to non-profit organizations. Metal items are recycled as scrap. Food and liquids items are tossed (including all those bottles of booze. Sigh.). But most of it sees a different ending.

They auction it.

Confiscated items that can’t be donated, recycled, etc. are sold in the states where they were found. Some things are sold outright, but others are auctioned, either online or in person. Each state has its own way to make the goods available, although most combine it with state surplus and goods confiscated by law enforcement. Here’s where to check in each state (list via eyeflare):

US state Website address
Alabama www.adeca.alabama.gov
Alaska www.publicsurplus.com/
Arizona doa.az.gov/public-auctions (3x/year), or
publicsurplus.com/sms/arizona (online)
Arkansas www.arstatesurplus.com
California http://www.dgs.ca.gov/ofam/home.aspx
Colorado www.cijvp.com
Connecticut portal.ct.gov
Delaware www.state.de.us/dss/surplus/index.shtml
District of Columbia app.ocp.dc.gov/RUI/information/ppd/ppd_main.asp
Florida dms.myflorida.com
Florida Public Surplus
Georgia surplusproperty.doas.georgia.gov – Online auction sales
Hawaii auction.ehawaii.gov
Idaho fsp.idaho.gov/
Illinois ibid.illinois.gov
Indiana www.state.in.us/idoa/surplus/index.html
Iowa www.iaprisonind.com manages the Iowa state surplus program
Kansas da.state.ks.us/surplus/default.htm
Kentucky finance.ky.gov
Louisiana www.doa.la.gov
Maine www.maine.gov/bgs/centralserv/surplus/
Maryland dgs.maryland.gov
Massachusetts www.mass.gov/…/surplus-property
Michigan www.michigan.gov/mibid
Minnesota mn.gov
Mississippi www.dfa.ms.gov
Missouri www.oa.mo.gov
Montana gsd.mt.gov/local/publicauctions
Nebraska www.corrections.state.ne.us/federal_surplus/index.html
Nevada purchasing.nv.gov
New Jersey www.state.nj.us/treasury/dss
New Mexico www.generalservices.state.nm.us/transportationservices/publicstorefront
New York www.ogs.state.ny.us/supportServices/fedSurplus
North Carolina www.surpluspropertydivision.com/
North Dakota www.nd.gov/surplus/
Ohio www.das.ohio.gov
Oklahoma www.ok.gov/DCS/State_Surplus/index.html
Oregon oregonsurplus.com

Pennsylvania www.dgs.state.pa.us/surp_prop/site/default.asp
Puerto Rico No website
South Carolina www.ogs.state.sc.us/OGS-disposable-index.phtm
South Dakota www.state.sd.us/boa/Prop. Mgmt/propmgt.htm
Tennessee www.tn.gov
Texas tfc.state.tx.us
Utah fleet.state.ut.us/
Vermont bgs.vermont.gov/gbs/surplus/auctions
Virginia dgs.virginia.gov
Washington www.washington.edu/admin/surplus
West Virginia www.state.wv.us/admin/purchase/surplus
Wisconsin www.doa.state.wi.us/
Wyoming ai.state.wy.us/GeneralServices/index.asp

If you’re ever available to check an auction out, I’d suggest it – the variety is incredible (and sometimes more than a little bewildering LOL).

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek March 12, 2019 - 6:14 pm

Once I arrived at a major airport about 1 am. I walked from the gate to the terminal. There were few passengers, mostly from my flight. I looked into the disposal bin before the security line, which was closed for the night. I saw a very nice pair of scissors inside. I took it. I still have it 10 years later.

I almost never pick up rubbish but the scissors looked too good. It was still in the package.

SharonKurheg March 13, 2019 - 12:42 pm

LOLOLOL! That’s a great story! I’m glad you got a pair of scissors out of it! 🙂

Kelly Blick March 14, 2019 - 4:02 pm

Huh, I had no idea! Thanks for sharing!

I’ve rarely seen anything like these items get confiscated at airports. The strangest thing I’ve seen was a group of four European tourists each get the LARGEST jars of peanut butter confiscated from each of their carry on bags. Biggest jars of peanut butter I’ve ever seen. I was almost as disappointed as they were.


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