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'Edible' coffee mugs are available to replace disposable cups

Coffee mug is made from vanilla biscuits and is waterproof. (Air New Zealand)

New Zealand's state-owned airline Air New Zealand has announced a demonstration of an edible coffee cup reduce the amount of garbage on board.

Introduced by New Zealand company Twiice, the edible coffee cup is made from vanilla biscuits and is water resistant.

Air New Zealand offers over 8 million cups of coffee per year. The airline says it will reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill.

But some point out that changing cups is not enough.

In a statement, Air New Zealand said, "As part of our innovation for sustainability, we are using edible coffee mugs on board and on the ground."

"Eatable coffee cups are very popular with customers," said Nikki Chave, customer experience manager at Air New Zealand.

"Coffee cups will have a positive impact on the environment," said Jamie Cashmore, co-founder of cup maker Twiice.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the number of disposable cups consumed in Korea is 27.5 billion per year (as of 2015). The rate being recycled is known to be less than 5%.

Earlier, Air New Zealand required all aircraft and lounges to use biodegradable cups made of paper and corn. The use of edible coffee cups is a follow-up.

Some social media users, however, said that if the airline really cares about the environment, it needs to go beyond changing coffee cups.

Airplanes generate greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, which adversely affects global warming.

Environmental reporter George Monbio left a cynical tweet, "It's nice to see airlines trying to minimize their environmental impact. But wait a minute."

Another Twitter user wrote, "What about reducing (carbon) emissions? Just cut back to London once a week."

There is also criticism of dietary requirements. A vegan customer said that the cups he was using included eggs, and the manufacturer Twice said the cups are made up of gluten, traces of nuts and dairy products.

The airline stressed its continued use of vegetable cups on all planes during the pilot.



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