National flag carrier Air New Zealand has announced the start of a new edible coffee cup trial.

The airline is testing the cups with its customers in the air and on the ground. The edible coffee cups are intended for waste reduction as Air New Zealand currently serves over eight million coffee cups a year.

The initiative is part of the company’s drive to meet its sustainability challenges.

Currently, the airline uses compostable cups. However, it aims to remove them from landfills completely.

Air New Zealand senior manager customer experience Niki Chave said: “We have 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 have also been using the cups as dessert bowls.”

Recently, the carrier started using plant-based cups on all of its aircraft and in lounges.

Made of paper and corn, the plant-based cups can be processed in a commercial composter.

By switching to plant-based cups, the air operator expects to prevent approximately 15 million cups from entering landfills every year.

twiice co-founder Jamie Cashmore said: “It is 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 really cool and tasty customer experience.”

In July, Air New Zealand pledged to remove 55 million single-use plastic items from its operations this year.