American Flag Recycling
Following are instructions for respectfully recycling your American flag. Please remember that this is a beta test and is subject to change so please check back here for developments.
Instructions for Recycling Your American Flag in a Respectful Manner: (Subject to change as program develops.)
We were hoping the value of the recycled fabric would offset the program costs but, unfortunately, we were not able to reach that goal. At this point we are requesting a donation for each flag returned for recycling.
||Flag size, con't.
|| Requested Donation
||Call Concerning Larger Flags
Shipping cost must be prepaid and sent to the following address:
American Flags Express Inc.
12577 West Custer Avenue
Butler, WI 53007
For now, make your check payable to American Flags Express Inc. American Flags Express Inc. has been our major sponsor in the development of this program since 2001.
- Please include your return address on the outside of the packaging
- Please include your e-mail address inside the box for a receipt.*
- Please be sure to mark the package, “American Flag for Recycling.”
- Please mark the canvas header, “American Flag for Recycling.”
(The canvas header is the white stripe on the left hand side of your flag that attaches to the pole)
* We will e-mail a receipt to you immediately. Eventually we will also e-mail to you a YouTube link showing the first American Flag Recycling Retirement Program which will include your flag.
What happens with your donation?
100% of your donation will be used to cover the cost of recycling American flags or to provide American flags to the American military through a program called Operation Purple Heart. This is a beta recycling test so we do not have an exact cost experience. We are requesting a donation that should cover all the costs plus allow any overage to be contributed to Operation Purple Heart. Financial updates will be listed on this website as the program begins to roll.
Details on Recycling Costs:
American flags returned for retirement must be sorted into nylon and polyester and stored in Portable on Demand Storage container, PODS. We must accumulate at least 10,000 pounds before the unit will be accepted by the fabric recycler. Once the container is filled it will be transported 900 miles to the recycler. This is the most efficient method we could devise at this time. Following are projected costs:
- Administration of funds and nonprofit set up -- $0 (We hope!)
- PODS set up (including transport) -- $2461 per cycle
- PODS rental charge -- $2388/unit/year
- Cost of sorting flags and packed into PODS -- $0 (We hope!)
- Cost of area to park PODS -- $0 (We hope!)
As you can see we have some cost variables. The largest variable not listed above is we don't know how many people will take advantage of this program. We do believe we will be able to cover our costs based on the donations we are requesting. None of the contributions will be used to pay for staffing or any other costs. Fortunately our major sponsor, American Flags Express Inc. helps cover those costs.
Extra money to Operation Purple Heart and beyond:
If people honor our request for contributions and our expenses run close to projection we should be able to cover costs and accumulate extra money. Think of this as a margin of safety! Once we are confident of the recycling costs, this margin of safety fund will be used to provide American flags through Operation Purple Heart. Operation Purple Heart provides free commercial quality AMERICAN MADE American flags to our military serving overseas. The program is focused to make sure that every recipient of a Purple Heart also receives an American flag. Under this program American flags are also provided to active military and veterans.
Burning nylon and other synthetics is being banned:
The American Legion is recognized as the authoritative source for American flag retirement. You can read about this by clicking here. The current ceremony was established in 1937 before American flags were made with synthetic materials which look better and last significantly longer than natural fibers like cotton. Now many states are banning the burning of synthetic materials or in some cases refusing to issue open burning permits. We do understand that many people, particularly some of our esteemed veterans, prefer the burning retirement ceremony. Our only goal is to assist the American Legion in establishing an alternative environmentally friendly retirement method.
Recycled in a dignified manner:
We have been working since 2001 to develop this recycling program. During that time we hit many dead ends and received false promises, usually from good meaning people who didn't understand the complexities of recycling synthetics. We think we have now established a successful program, but only time will tell. We are making a very strong effort to be sure these American flags are decommissioned and recycled in a dignified manner without harming the environment or endangering the safety of patriotic Americans. We believe we have established a program to meet those goals.
Additional Questions & Suggestions:
If you have any questions or suggestions please contact Sue at FlagRecycling@Gmail.com or Tom at American Flags Express Inc., 262-783-4800 extension 11.