Because we are in the flag business, our subscribers sometimes ask us how they can dispose of an old or tattered flag. Here are four alternative methods for you to consider.
First, you can burn the flag. Make a campfire or use a gas BBQ. From the VFW Flag Etiquette page: "It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag."
Second, in our flag program, we get a lot of worn flags. One of the scout troops that delivers for us has volunteered to burn our worn flags in a respectful ceremony. Our warehouse always has a large trash bag or two full of worn flags, and the scouts pick them up periodically. Our warehouse is locked, so the only way to get your flag in one of those burn-bags is to take your flag to the home of one of the Richardson Flags staff. Send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you where to take the flag. Please place your old flag in a paper bag, and fold the bag so that the flag is not visible. We will put your flag in a burn bag the next time we go to the warehouse.
Third, some, but not all, of the Plano fire department stations have a receptacle box (similar in size to a mailbox outside the post office) where you can leave your old flag. Periodically, the Sons of the American Revolution gather the flags from the boxes and ceremoniously burn them.
Fourth, although many people feel that burning is the *only* proper way to dispose of a US flag, there is a respectful alternative. The primary disrespectful action that you should avoid is something that would allow a casual observer to know you were discarding the flag. For example, you would not want to toss the flag on top of your trash can and take the trash can out by your alley to be picked up. The simplest solution is to place the flag in a paper bag, fold up the bag so the flag isn’t visible, and then place the bag in your trash.