Under Title 4, Chapter1, § 8, paragraph k of the US Code (often referred to as the Flag Code) it states:
“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
The topic of flag disposal is a huge topic in the flag community. The standard practice to dispose an American flag is to burn the flag. Recent conversations with fellow flag dealers has generated discussion of the best practice to dispose the US flag. We are aware of the impact the fumes of the burning flag have on our environment. It is our passion to dignify the flag when it’s life is over and will be evaluating options to best handle this situation.
Here are a couple options to dispose of your American flag properly:
Burn the Flag
The original, most recognized proper process to dispose of a flag is to burn it. This process was mandated back when flags were made of cotton or wool…fabrics that burn “clean”. Today, flags that fly outdoors are made from either nylon or polyester, which are petroleum based fabrics. These fabrics do not burn like cotton or wool which prompts addressing the process of burning the flag.
This is how we currently dispose of the American Flag but are considering other alternative in light of the environmental impact. We offer complimentary US Flag disposal for our customers. You can ship it to us, and we will properly dispose of your American flag.
Recycle the flag
You may recycle the US flag as long as it is in a dignified matter. When an American flag has been cut up, it is no longer officially a flag. Here is a method recommended by the Boy Scouts:
Stretch out the corners of the flag.
• Cut the flag in half, vertically — do not cut into the blue star field.
• Place the two halves together and cut in half, horizontally.
• You will have four pieces of flag, one being the blue star field and the other three red and white stripes.
• Put the blue field section of the flag in one container (Box) and the other three sections in an another container & dispose.
There is an option to ship your flag to a recycling facility. There is a cost associated to ship the flag as well as a fee to help with the recycle process.
As we research our options for flag disposal, we will continue to burn the worn United States flag.