According to the U.S. Flag Code, American flags that have seen better days, “should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” The problem is that most American flags are made of nylon which, when burned, releases toxic fumes. So no, do not throw your frayed flag into the fireplace on a cold winter night and set it ablaze. Instead, bring it to the new flag retirement box at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF).
The RDF this month placed one of the USPS-like boxes in the used books area to ensure that old American flags are respectfully treated. RDF Superintendent Jim Manzolini says, “Myself and the staff here have seen far too many flags in the trash compactors and on the floor of the trash building. We would prefer that flags be folded (correctly). If you need help doing so please stop by the office and someone will help you do so.”
The retired flags are properly disposed of by the Veterans’ Services Officer.
Worn-out flags can also be brought to Town Hall.
RDF Recyclable of the Month—textiles
These include clothing, blankets, gloves, jackets, hats, drapes, bedding, rugs, sneakers, backpacks, etc. (But not American flags. See above.) As long as it’s dry, it can go into the “Textiles Area” of the RDF. Even single sneakers, gloves or mittens without mates, and ratty old and frayed sweaters are acceptable. These poor-condition textiles get recycled, which keeps them out landfills.
Wellesley RDF hours
Thur.-Saturday: 7am- 3:45pm
Closed Sundays–(Sunday hours resume April 2022)
Rob Rose says
So happy to see these steps taken to respectfully retire U.S. flags. Way to go Wellesley!!