How To Correctly Dispose Of An American Flag

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Disposing of an American flag is something even the most patriotic of us need to do at some point. After all, even the best-made flags aren’t indestructible! Flying a worn-out flag goes against flag etiquette, so when your American flag begins to fray and tatter, you want to remove it from your flag pole as soon as possible. 

When it comes time to say goodbye to one American flag (and hopefully replace it with another!), you may be concerned about how to dispose of it correctly. You know not to put this highly valuable and meaningful material in the trash, but where is it supposed to go? 

This article explains when and why you should dispose of an American flag, and 3 ways to do so respectfully. For personalized advice, contact our team at BestFlag today.


When Should I Dispose Of An American Flag? 

You should dispose of your American flag when it shows signs of wear and tear. Your flag may be fraying, fading, torn, or in any other condition that compromises its integrity. Whatever the case, when it starts to show its age, it’s time to dispose of it.


Why Should I Dispose Of An American Flag?

When your American flag is no longer the picture-perfect emblem of respect for our country it once was, it’s considered disrespectful to keep flying it. This is because the flag honors those who have served and fought for our country, our rights, and our freedoms. Congress amended the Flag Code in 1976 to state that the American flag is a living entity and therefore has the right to exist and expire with the same dignity afforded to humans. 

The US Flag Code states that when an American flag becomes unsuitable for use, it should be destroyed in an honorable manner. This is due to a set of laws known as “retiring the flag”.


How To Correctly Dispose Of An American Flag

There are several ways to dispose of an American flag that show it the respect and dignity it deserves. These include:


  1.   Donating 

You can donate your old American flag at government centers, transfer stations, landfill complexes, and police stations. In fact, many government offices have specific flag disposal boxes outside of their buildings. 

When donated flags are collected, they are often given to organizations such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, American Legions, and VFWs.


  1.   Burning 

One of the most dignified manners in which to dispose of an American flag is through burning it. However, this method is not commonly used outside of the military. If you choose to burn your unfit-for-use American flag, it is recommended that you contact your local fire marshal regarding any ordinances you may need to follow. 

In addition to following any and all state and local fire codes, there are specific steps you will need to take to burn an American flag. You must roll the flag properly, salute it, and observe a moment of silence or recite the Pledge of Allegiance as the flag burns. 

If you plan on burning your old American flag, make sure you know what material it’s made out of. Nylon and polyester should not be burned as they contain dangerous chemicals that can cause harm if inhaled. Nylon and polyester flags should be disposed of in another manner.


  1.   Burying

 There is also the option of burying an American flag. To do so respectfully, you must fold the flag in the ceremonial triangle, place it in a wooden box, and bury it a few feet underground. The flag must not come in contact with the ground or dirt and should be handled with care at all times. Lastly, say a few respectful words or take a moment of silence as you bury the box into the ground.


Looking For A New American Flag? 

Now that you’ve retired your old flag, it’s time to get a new one. Don’t let your flag pole get lonely! Whether you’re after a large, small, nylon, or polyester American flag, you can find it here at BestFlag. With a plethora of options available and fantastic customer service, we couldn’t be prouder to help you show your pride in our country. To get started, browse our products today.



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