Sustainable living: Air New Zealand has started serving edible coffee cups to minimise onboard waste

Turning the on-flight beverage to munching snack, it's not the first time that the national carrier of New Zealand has experimented with eco-friendly waste management solutions.

Amid all the narrative going about climate change, there has been a wave of awareness around sustainable living and waste management. Adding to the cause, the airlines Air New Zealand has started serving coffee in edible cups on its flights to minimise onboard waste production. The new cups tailor-made for Air New Zealand have been brought out in vanilla flavour and are resistant to melting from warm fluids, such as coffee.

The airline has collaborated with New Zealand-based company Twiice, a family-run business dedicated to making edible plant-based cups that taste as good as being good to the earth feels. 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 onboard and inside the lounges.

In their official release, Air New Zealand Senior Manager Customer Experience Niki Chave said that while the cups are compostable, the ultimate goal would be to remove these totally from landfills. "We've been working in partnership with innovative New Zealand company 'twiice' to explore the future of edible coffee cups, which are vanilla flavoured and leakproof. 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," Chave said.

Jamie Cashmore, Twiice co-founder, said the edible cups could play a big role in demonstrating to the world that new and innovative ways of packaging are achievable. "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," Cashmore said.

Turning the on-flight beverage to munching snack, it's not the first time that the national carrier of New Zealand has experimented with eco-friendly waste management solutions. Back in July 2019, the airline announced that condiments like salad dressing and soy sauce would be served in small reusable bowls instead of individual plastic packets so that they accumulate lesser plastic waste. Air New Zealand has also won the Sustainable Business Leadership Award at the Deloitte Top 200 awards in Auckland for these kinds of initiatives.