Air New Zealand will allow people to have their coffee cups and eat them too in an innovative concept for reducing landfill.
The airline has begun trialing edible coffee cups in the air and on the ground as it looks for new ways to boost sustainability.
The airline currently serves more than eight million cups of coffee each year and introduced compostable coffee cups as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to old-style receptacles.
The plant-based compostable cups now on board all aircraft and in lounges are made from paper and corn, allowing them to be broken down in a commercial composter.
The airline estimates that switching to plant-based cups will prevent around 15 million cups from going to landfills annually.
But Air New Zealand senior manager customer experience Niki Chave said the ultimate goal would be to remove the cups totally from landfills.
And what better way than to get passengers to munch on them as a sort of dual-use biscuit?
“We’ve been working in partnership with innovative New Zealand company ‘twiice’ to explore the future of edible coffee cups, which are vanilla flavored and leakproof,’’ Chave said.
“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 the airline will continue to trial twiice’s edible coffee cups and work with the company and other partners to explore scaling options that could make it a viable long-term product for the airline.
Twiice is a family company and makes the cup from wheat flour, sugar, egg and vanilla essence. The cups are handmade and the company recommends people eat the cup directly after finishing their hot drink.
Company co-founder Jamie Cashmore 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,” he said.
AirNZ is also moving to reduce landfill by encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups to use on board aircraft and in lounges.