The most common way for a Boy Scout to properly dispose of an unusable U.S. flag is by burning. But if the flag is made of nylon, burning is not necessarily a good idea.
The idea of burning flags was endorsed in 1937, back when most flags were made of wool or cotton. Nowadays, flags are made of nylon or polyester, which are durable and last much longer.
But when those flags are burned, they create hazardous gases. The recycling process instead takes virtually all of the material in the old flag and makes it available for producing new flags.
You can still have a flag retirement ceremony, during which you should discuss the flag’s history (Where was it flown? For how long?). Then you can respectfully cut up the flag and mail it to an organization that will recycle it for a small donation.
Click here for instructions on recycling your retired flag.