For most cigar smokers, the term “green cigar” means one thing: a candela. If you don’t know, a candela (or “double claro”) is a cigar with a light green wrapper. Candelas tend to have a grassy, herbal tea taste, and while they were once wildly popular, they have mostly receded into obscurity over the past few decades.
However, today we won’t be discussing “green” cigars in the literal sense, but rather the eco-friendliness of cigars and cigar smoking. Here’s a quick overview of the cigar-making process and how you can make your smoke sessions more environmentally friendly.
What are Cigars Made From?
Cigars –– unlike other tobacco products like cigarettes –– are made almost entirely from tobacco leaves. Everything from the filler to the binder to the wrapper of a traditional cigar is comprised simply of fermented tobacco leaves. The only other “ingredient” is a sticky substance or cigar glue that rollers use to help hold the cigar bundle together.
Cigars are primarily hand-made products. While there are machine-made cigars, premium cigars are made almost exclusively by artisans using time-honored techniques. Indeed, many cigar factories consist of rows and rows of talented professionals rolling cigars at their own stations. For more information on the cigar-making process, you can check out our series on the topic here.
The Eco-Friendliness of Cigars
The good news for cigar smokers seeking to avoid waste is that almost every facet of a cigar is either compostable or recyclable. First, cigar butts or nubs are compostable and, in fact, contain lots of essential nutrients. (Remember, cigars are basically rolled-up leaves.) Second, there’s a responsible way to dispose of the cellophane wrappers that adorn most cigars. While this substance is not always recyclable, it can sometimes be composted because true cellophane is biodegradable. On the other hand, most cigar bands are made from paper and thus can be recycled.
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter to enrich soil and plants. The benefits of composting organic waste (like cigars) are numerous and include: conserving water, improving soil health, and cutting methane from landfills. Note that there are two different types of composting: cold composting –– which involves the natural decomposition of organic matter –– and hot composting, which involves heating the waste to speed along the process. For more information about composting on your own, you can check out this resource. (Reminder, don’t compost a lit cigar, or hot cigar.)
Lastly, cigar boxes are reusable and can be repurposed in many different creative ways (including, but not limited to, creating guitars out of them). Eco-conscious consumers may also consider purchasing humidors that are made from recycled materials.
For more information on waste and recycling materials in your state, you can visit this website.
Eco-Friendly Cigar Efforts
While composting on your own is always beneficial, large-scale efforts from cigar companies can also make the cigar industry more eco-friendly. Plasencia Cigars, for instance, utilizes a technique called “fertigation,” to increase the nutrients in the soil on its tobacco farms. Similarly, Perdomo Cigars has developed a custom water filtration system to efficiently irrigate their land. And global giant Scandinavian Tobacco Group has made a sustainability pledge to reach reduction targets of 1.5 degree celsius for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and to become net zero in 2050.
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