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How to dispose of an American flag in Virginia

Burning an American flag isn’t a good idea for several reasons. First, nylon can be toxic. And second, patriotic onlookers may not respond kindly to the practice, to say the least.


Burning an American flag isn’t a good idea for several reasons. First, nylon can be toxic. And second, patriotic onlookers may not respond kindly to the practice, to say the least.

To give Americans a sure-fire method for getting rid of a worn-out or damaged star-spangled banner, North Virginia has opened a flag collection facility at the Prince William County Landfill

On June 14, national Flag Day, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. for the new American Flag Collection Center at landfill on Va. 234.

The collection center will be available during normal operating hours so residents can place folded or unfolded flags in a special bin.

The center also will be staffed by Boy Scouts every second and fourth Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow residents to present their flags in person. Scouts will be prepared to demonstrate proper folding techniques and personally fold residents’ flags for them. Scout staff will also answer general questions about flag                                                                    etiquette and history.

The aim of the program is to provide a service for citizens and businesses to properly dispose of their torn, faded, worn and old American Flags.

All flags received at the collection center will be picked up on a regular basis by local Boy Scout troops and will be distributed among the troops and local civic organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion to be retired in their regularly scheduled flag retirement ceremonies. In accordance with the United States Flag Code, all appropriate flags will be burned during the ceremony in a manner consistent with the traditions of the responsible organization.

Although most ceremonies are private, arrangements may be made to accommodate residents interested in participating in a flag retirement ceremony.

American flags made of nylon are not appropriate for burning to prevent the release of toxic fumes that result from burning. These flags may be recycled by companies specializing in recycling American flags. Other flags may be accepted and may either be recycled or retired in an appropriate manner.

Donations to support the program can be made through the Keep Prince William Beautiful website, and note the donation is for the flag collection center.

For more information on the program, contact coordinator David Byrne by email at pwcflagcollection@gmail.com or by calling 703-680-6060.


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