Sprite will be packaged in clear bottles, ending use of its iconic green design, as part of a series of moves by the Coca-Cola Company to improve the sustainability of its packaging.
Starting August 1, Sprite will be shifting all of plastic PET packaging from green to clear. Despite the fact that green PET is recyclable, the recycled material is often transformed into single-use items like clothing and carpeting that cannot be recycled into new PET bottles. During the sorting process, green and colored PET is put aside from clear material to avoid discoloring recycled food-grade packaging needed to make new PET bottles.
The company said that Coca-Cola North America’s entire green plastic portfolio, including Fresca, Seagram’s, and Mello Yello will transition to clear PET in the coming months.
Julian Ochoa, CEO, R3CYCLE, which is working with Coca-Cola Consolidated to enable bottle-to-bottle recycling, said:
“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material. This transition will help increase availability of food-grade rPET. When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”
In addition, a majority of Coca-Cola Company’s bottled water brand DASANI’s bottles in the U.S will be offered in 100% recycled plastic, excluding caps and labels, rolling out this summer. In Canada, this change will include all of the brand’s bottles. The transition is expected to save over 20 million pounds of new plastic compared to 2019, and reduce more than 25,000 metric tons of GHG emissions in 2023 alone.
Earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Company announced a new reusable packaging goal, aiming to have at least 25% of all beverages across its global portfolio of brands sold in refillable or returnable glass or plastic bottles, or in refillable containers by 2030. Today’s announcement also supports the company’s World Without Waste initiative’s goal to use at least 50% recycled materials in all its bottles and cans by 2030 and DASANI’s pledge to remove the equivalent of 2 billion virgin plastic bottles from production by 2027 compared to 2021 levels.
Chris Vallette, Senior Vice President of Technical Innovation and Stewardship, Coca-Cola North America, said:
“Demand for rPET currently exceeds supply, so the first step to scaling up use of 100% rPET across our portfolio is building a sustainable pipeline of high-quality material. We do this by working with communities to boost PET recycling and collection; collaborating with recycling partners; and, finally, securing rPET to help ensure the material for our bottles is used again and again.”