In honor of Earth Month, we’re going to look at the biodegradability of cigars. Though you may not know it, basically all cigars are –– in fact –– biodegradable! That’s because cigars are comprised entirely of natural materials, i.e., tobacco leaves bundled together. This is different than cigarettes and other tobacco products, most of which are wrapped in a non-biodegradable substance like paper. While discarded cigarettes and cigarette butts are not eco-friendly, the same thing can’t be said for remnants of a cigar. (Note, cigarettes can be recycled.

What are Cigars Made From? 

If you’re new to the cigar category, you may be surprised to learn that cigars contain only tobacco leaves. Premium cigars produce many unique tasting notes, but they all come from tobacco. (This does not include flavored cigars infused with flavoring.) What’s more, cigars are primarily hand-made products. Individual artisans bunch, form, and roll tobacco leaves to create cigars. 

How to Dispose of Cigars 

Unlike cigarettes, you should not crush or stamp out cigars when you’re finished smoking them. Why? Because a stamped-out cigar will emit a pungent odor in its wake and potentially stain patio surfaces like concrete or wood. Instead, the best way to put out a cigar is to simply set it down in a safe place (i.e. an ashtray) and let it go out of its own accord. You can also run some water over the cigar to put it out if you’re in a rush. 

What should you do when you reach the end of your cigar? You have a few options. While throwing it away with the ash is fine, you can also compost cigar remnants. Tobacco in cigars contains natural chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium –– all of which can act to add nutrients to the soil. Consider tossing discarded cigars across your lawn or –– even better –– into your garden to help give the soil an added boost. And for a more detailed look at how to compost on your own, you can check out this guide here. 

Finally, note that cellophane cigar wrappers are not recyclable, but true cellophane materials are biodegradable. You can add them to your compost efforts when finished with them. Keep in mind that not all “cellophane” wrappers are actually made from cellophane –– as confusing as that may sound. If the cellophane wrapper includes polypropylene, then it is recyclable/not compostable. The easiest way to know if it contains polypropylene is if it is heat-sealed. 

What Are the Best Biodegradable Cigars? 

The truth is that no premium cigar is more biodegradable than any other! Feel free to compost your favorite cigars when you’re finished with them. 

Before we go, we would like to touch on the subject of re-use. While it can be tempting to purchase new lighters, cutters, and humidors on a regular basis, it’s more economical and environmentally friendly to instead purchase high quality cigar accessories and stick with them over time. With that in mind, here’s a link to some of our favorite humidors and lighters on the market! 

Looking for more tips, tricks, and information about cigars? Then sign up for Cigar World for more content just like this! 

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  • Member Avatar
    (10 months ago)

    I very much enjoy your useful and informative website, and I applaud your efforts to introduce more environment related cigar topics, it would be great to hear more about the use of pesticides in tobacco farms etc. But I would like to contest that paper is not biodegradable. It is wood pulp, unless we are talking about polymer coated paper like paper plates etc or paper with dyes. Thanks for a great website.