Air New Zealand is taking waste-free flights to new heights

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Air New Zealand is taking waste-free flights to new heights, trialling edible coffee cups in a bid to reduce waste on board its planes.

Produced by NZ company ‘twiice’, the cups are made from vanilla-flavoured biscotti and, believe or not, are supposedly leak-proof.

Air New Zealand serves more than eight million cups of coffee a year and is testing the new cups “in the air and on the ground” as part of its efforts to find “innovative ways to meet sustainability challenges”.

“The cups have been a big hit with the customers who have used these, and we’ve also been using the cups as dessert bowls,” said Air New Zealand’s customer experience manager Niki Chave.

edible coffee cups

The edible cups trial followed a recent switch to compostable cups made of paper and corn, which are currently used in all Air New Zealand planes and lounges. Switching to plant-based coffee cups is expected to prevent around 15 million cups from going to landfill annually. The airline is also encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups on board aircraft and into its lounges.

“It’s terrific that Air New Zealand has partnered with us to showcase to its customers and the world that a little bit of Kiwi ingenuity and innovation could have a really positive impact on the environment while at the same time delivering a really cool and tasty customer experience,” said twiice co-founder Jamie Cashmore, who is working on extending the cups to an entire edible range of crockery.

And while the cups are proving to be a hit with some, a few social media users say the airline needs to do more to curb its carbon footprint.

edible coffee cups

“So good to see an airline minimising its environmental impacts. Oh, hang on a minute …”, tweeted environmental journalist George Monbiot.

“How about reducing emissions”, tweeted another user.

“Maybe just cancel one flight a week to London instead”, said another.

edible coffee cups

Air New Zealand is also dealing with concerns from those with dietary requirements, as the cups contain egg, gluten and might contain traces of nut and dairy. Plant-based cups will continue to be available on all flights during the trial.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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