Ways to Retire A Flag Besides Burning It

man saluting an american flag

The American flag is a symbol of our great nation. When the flag is tattered or damaged beyond repair, the proper way to retire it is in a burning ceremony performed with care and respect. While this is the most acceptable way to dispose of an old flag, it may not be an option for you for a variety of reasons. Let's take a look at ways to retire a flag besides burning it if this is the situation you are in right now.

Contact an outside organization

One of the easiest ways to retire a flag besides burning it if you are unable to do so is to contact an outside organization such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Elks Lodge, American Legion, or even the Boy Scouts of America. Many of these local organizations will be happy to perform a flag retirement ceremony for those unable to do so on their own.


If you are looking for ways to retire a flag besides burning it that you can do on your own, cutting the flag is another choice for proper disposal. A flag that has been properly cut up is no longer considered a flag so you will be able to throw it out like any other item, provided you follow certain basic guidelines. For example, you should start by cutting the flag in half vertically after you lay it flat. Then cut the flag in half horizontally. This should result in four pieces of the flag, with the blue field still intact because you never want to cut the blue field, and then you can then transfer the pieces to an enclosed container such as a box or jar before placing it in the garbage.


A final option for retiring a flag is to call a recycling company or contact the seller of the flag to take care of it. While this option will cost you some money, it may be well worth it if this is the only option for your area and burning it isn't suitable for you. This option has the added benefit of the fact that the pieces of your old flag may end up being used in the creation of a new flag thanks to your effort to recycle.