Re: Using an old American Flag Â§ 8k and the flag code, "the flag, when in such a manner that is no longer an appropriate symbol to be displayed, would be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." Please contact your local VFW Chapter and ask them to help dispose of your flag. And be sure to consider offering a small donation to them for their assistance. Or you can contact your local Elks Lodge (who created the idea of Flag Day, established officially by President Truman, himself a member of Moose), the American Legion, or the Knights of Columbus. Some Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops also provide this service. See Service and ceremony of retreat the flag At one time, most American flags of cotton or wool. But today, the flags are often nylon or other petroleum-based materials. Burning can release harmful gases such as formaldehyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and traces of hydrogen cyanide in the air. In some countries it is illegal to burn nylon, so stick Flag Code puts you directly violate the law. The burn is recommended for cotton and wool flags. Flags made from nylon and other synthetics can be buried. Modern flag retirement ceremonies are often held annually on Flag Day, sometimes symbolic burning of a single flag (cotton or wool) and burying others. It is both safe and respectful.