U.S. of America and Texas State Flag Retirement Guide

A red-white-and-blue box with the label, "Retired American Flag Drop Box" on it. A person is putting a flag in the box.

U.S. of America and Texas State Flag Retirement Guide

You’ve flown your American flag proudly and patriotically. However, if it’s been on display a while, it may have started showing wear and tear from weather and sun exposure. 

Is it time to retire your flag? We’ve put together a guide on how to determine whether a flag is ready for retirement – and how you can make sure it’s handled respectfully.

What Is Flag Retirement? 

Flag retirement is the proper and respectful disposal of the flag. Acceptable flag retirement ceremonies may include shredding, cutting (while leaving the blue portion of the flag intact), burning or burying. 

Is My Flag Ready For Retirement? 

A flag is ready for retirement if it is worn, tattered, ripped or stained. It’s a subjective decision. If you assess your flag and determine it is not in good condition to be flown or displayed, you can feel good about retiring it with dignity and respect. 

It’s Time to Retire My Flag. How Do I Do It? 

The U.S. Flag Code states that when a flag “is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display,” it should be destroyed in a dignified way. The U.S. Flag Code suggests burning as the preferred option. 

However, many modern flags are made from synthetic materials. These materials make them more durable and longer-lasting. They can, unfortunately, also make burning a flag at home hazardous to your health and safety. Instead of trying to handle a disposal ceremony at home, you can drop it off at an American Veterans Post or now work with a trusted waste disposal service to dispose of your flag in a respectful and more sustainable manner. 

As a service to our customers and community, TDS accepts U.S. flags that are ready for retirement. Since 2019, we’ve collected more than 500 flags and passed them on to local community partners like the Central Texas AMVETS Post TX115 in Kyle for disposal befitting their status as a sacred symbol of our nation. 

How Do I Get My Flag To TDS? 

You can bring your flag in personally to our Operations Building, located at 3606-B FM 1327, Creedmoor, TX 78610 near the TDS Landfill just south of Austin or any of our other locations. For more information on our multiple flag collection boxes, please call (800) 375-8375.

One fact that makes us particularly proud: Our flag recycling program began because one of our veteran drivers wanted to ensure flags were being respectfully disposed of. TDS proudly employs veterans as part of our team – and we appreciate this opportunity to honor our country by ensuring careful collection and disposal of flags.