Air New Zealand is heeding the call for waste reduction in its own special way by introducing edible coffee cups. By Shrimayee Thakur

The airline has introduced edible coffee cups in an effort to reduce waste production. They will be available in flight, as well as on-ground in their lounges. For this, Air New Zealand has partnered with TWIICE, a relatively small local family run business. The cups are vanilla flavoured, completely leakproof, and are also being used as dessert bowls.

As of now, the cups are only available on flights between New Zealand and Australia. Introducing them on all flights will be a challenge, as TWIICE would have to produce millions of edible cups each year.

The new initiative, however, could help Air New Zealand’s sustainability offerings by cutting nearly eight million coffee cups from the total waste produced by the airline each year. Earlier this year in October, the airline had also introduced plant-based biodegradable cups on all their airplanes, and in lounges to reduce using plastic cups. These cups are made of paper and corn, and can be broken down commercially, unlike their plastic counterparts. This change in the material used, according to the airline, will allow them to prevent approximately 15 million cups from going into landfill each year.

Although small, this effort to cut plastic waste is part of Air New Zealand’s larger plan to stabilise its carbon emission growth by 2020, and reduce their net emissions by 2050.

According to a report published by the World Bank in 2018, 2.01 billion metric tonnes of solid waste is being produced annually across the globe. The report also warned that this figure is expected to rise by 70 percent, to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050. According to the World Bank, unsustainable waste management is a huge threat, as it becomes a hub for diseases. This happens because of waste being dumped in unregulated garbage dumps, in the open, or even being burned.

Related: 187 Countries (Excluding US) Joined Hands To Combat Plastic Pollution