Proper Ways to Dispose of American Flags

Posted by Michael Green on

As a tangible symbol of the United States of America, the American flag should be treated with the same respect and dignity. Like any other outdoor flag, they will become old, weathered, or tattered and must be replaced from time to time. When that time comes, disposing of the flag properly is the last step in it's life representing our country. So in this post, we'll discuss the proper way to dispose of an American flag, including our Re-Patriot Recycled Plastic Bottle USA Flags.

The United States Flag Code specifies that "The [USA] 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." This means that burning the flag is the preferred method of disposal.

Before you go starting a fire in your backyard, we'd suggest first trying to find a Flag Disposal box in your city. Many government offices and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts have flag disposal boxes somewhere inside or outside of their buildings. This is the safest way to dispose of your flag. 

If you are going to dispose of the flag yourself, there are a few things you should consider before burning your flag:

Consider these before burning your American Flag

  • Material - This is the first and most important consideration. More and more American flags are being made of synthetic materials like Polyester or Nylon. These are not fit for burning as they will possibly release toxic fumes and are more fire-resistant than organic materials like cotton. It is recommended that you recycle these synthetic flags instead of burning. All American flags purchased from Flags For Good including the RePatriot USA Flags, USA Garden Flags, 51 Star USA Flags, and "For All" USA flags should be recycled, not burned. 
  • Local burning ordinances - most communities have rules and laws around what/when/how you can burn items on your property. Look into these before burning anything, including any United States Flags.
  • Weather - Do not start a fire to burn your flag on a windy day where the fire might get out of control or the items being burned would risk being blown out of the fire.

If you cannot burn your flag for any reason, another respectful way to dispose of it is burying the flag. If you choose this method, the flag should be folded neatly and placed in a sturdy, non-plastic container. The container should then be buried in a respectful manner, such as in a marked grave or in a location that has special meaning to you or the person who owned the flag.

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