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There is good reason why Air New Zealand has recently won the Sustainable Business Leadership award at the Deloitte Top 200 awards in Auckland. It is constantly innovating in their small, but powerful community on the global stage. One of the best examples is how the airline is addressing the fact is serves more than eight million cups of coffee each year across its network.

Air New Zealand Senior Manager Customer Experience Niki Chave says that while the current 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,” Ms Chave says.

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‘twiice’ co-founder, Jamie Cashmore says the edible cups could play a big role in demonstrating to the world that new and innovative ways of packaging are achievable. But the partnership is bittersweet (so to speak) as Air New Zealand has sourced a local, small community company to help out with the edible cups meaning that Air New Zealand can only support some of their routes with this innovative solution.

“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,” Mr Cashmore says.

Mr Cashmore says ‘twiice’ is working on extending its edible range of crockery and expects to rollout new products next year.

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The ‘twiice’ edible cup trial backs up Air New Zealand’s recent switch to plant-based coffee cups on board all aircraft and in lounges. The plant-based cups are made from paper and corn instead of plastic, which enables the cup to break down in a commercial composter. 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.

Ms Chave says 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.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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