Properly Disposing of Worn-Out American Flags

An American flag shouldn’t be thrown in the trash or burned at home, they should be disposed of respectfully and properly.

November 19, 2021

The American flag is one of the most sacred symbols of the U.S.  

Displaying a flag outside for everyone to see can cause the flag to be worn out, due to temperature changes and inclement weather. 

With all of the meaning that it holds, it would be disrespectful to just throw it out in the trash. Making sure to respectfully dispose of a damaged or soiled flag is important. 

Flag Retirement Ceremony 

Many states and counties have disposal sites where they collect flags which are then properly disposed of. 

Flags should always be retired at a solemn, dignified event. Burning the American flag in an undignified manner is considered to be desecration.

In 1937, the American Legion passed a resolution “The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags” and has been an indispensable ritual ever since. 

At-Home Disposal Methods 

If you are not able to drop your flag off, there are other ways you can respectfully dispose of your worn out American flag: 

  • Small ceremony - held in a dignified manner
  • Bury the folded flag in a dignified box
  • Recycle - an option for synthetic or nylon material flags

Rockland Green 

In Rockland County, flags can be turned into the Household Hazardous Waste facility for proper disposal by the Veterans Service Agency. 

If you are interested in learning more about proper flag disposal, Rockland Green is a resource for you. Contact us with any questions you may have!