Covanta Fairfax, Va., and the Fairfax County Department of Public Works, in partnership with American Legion Post 177, have launched a U.S. flag retirement program to reverently dispose of old, worn American flags.
While many veteran organizations have flag collection programs in place, the quantity of retired American flags they receive can be overwhelming and, alarmingly, Fairfax County employees have been finding an increasing number of improperly disposed flags in the waste stream.
To solve this problem and provide an outlet for the honorable disposal of American flags, Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works has placed collection boxes at the Interstate 66 Transfer Station, Interstate 95 Landfill, Fairfax County Government Center and local police stations for flag drop off by citizens of Fairfax County. Flags will be collected free of charge and prepared for retirement in the customary manner and in accordance with U.S. Flag Code by the American Legion Post 177 with the assistance of the Boy Scout of America Troop 1887. Prepared flags will be retired at Covanta Fairfax in the customary manner and in accordance with guidance from the American Legion.
To mark the first delivery of prepared flags, Covanta Fairfax hosted a formal flag retirement ceremony that was led by American Legion Post 177 Commander Jeff White and attended by Fairfax County Supervisor Daniel G. Storck, Deputy Director of Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services John Kellas, representatives of Boy Scouts Troop 1887 and local veterans.
“Every year, around a thousand American flags are brought to us for proper retirement and disposal,” said White in a statement. “For years, Post 177 has been retiring these flags and burning them in accordance with Title 4, Chapter 1 of U.S. Code. Partnering with Covanta and Fairfax County will allow us to continue this important mission in a safer and more environmentally friendly way. As veterans, the flag holds an important place in our hearts and knowing that the older flags we collect will be treated with respect and dignity is invaluable. We thank Covanta and the county for supporting what will surely be a very successful program.”
“We are honored to assist the American Legion Post 177 to honorably retire the large amount of U.S. flags they receive,” said Don Cammarata, business manager at Covanta Fairfax, in a statement. “At Covanta, we hold our veterans in the highest regard and are steadfast in our dedication to these true American heroes. In fact, as an organization, 15 percent of our U.S. workforce is comprised of veterans.”