Sprite is retiring its green plastic bottles, here’s why

Sprite is shifting from green to clear PET packaging

Sprite in green plastic bottles

Sprite is making a major change to its packaging.

The Coca-Cola Company announced today that Sprite will no longer be sold in green plastic bottles, which have been a part of the soft drink’s brand identity for several decades. Coca-Cola said that the lemon and lime-flavored soda is shifting all of its PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) packaging from its signature green color to clear, starting August 1st, as part of the beverage company’s wider efforts to become more environmentally responsible.

Why is Sprite transitioning from green to clear plastic bottles?

Although green PET is recyclable, the recycled material is usually converted into single-use items like clothing and carpeting that cannot be recycled into new PET bottles. Like other colored PET, green PET is separated from clear PET during the sorting process of recycling to avoid discoloring recycled food-grade packaging required to make new PET bottles.

“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” said Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, in a statement. “This transition will help increase availability of food-grade rPET (recycled PET). When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.” R3CYCLE is a plastic group working with Coca-Cola to enable bottle-to-bottle recycling across the largest U.S. bottler’s 14 state-territory.

Other Coca-Cola brands that are shifting to clear plastic bottles

Sprite isn’t the only Coca-Cola drink that is moving from green to clear plastic bottles. In fact, packaging for Fresca, Seagram’s, Mello Yello, and the rest of the company’s entire green plastic portfolio in North America will also begin transitioning to clear PET in the coming months.

Dasani, Sprite Fresca, Seagram’s, and Mello Yello in new clear plastic bottles
New Dasani, Sprite Fresca, Seagram’s, and Mello Yello clear plastic bottles

Sprite’s new look

In addition to transitioning to clear bottles, Sprite is also debuting a new visual identity system featuring a revamped logo and packaging design to provide a consistent look and voice around the world. Coca-Cola noted that Sprite’s packaging graphics will retain the brand’s recognizable green hue and include prominent “Recycle Me” messaging.

Sprite's new clear plastic bottle featuring the brand's revamped logo and packaging design
Sprite’s new clear plastic bottle featuring the brand’s revamped logo and packaging design

Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste initiative

Sprite’s shift to clear plastic bottles is part of Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste initiative. First announced in 2018, the sustainable packaging campaign aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of one bottle or can for every one sold by 2030, use 100% recycled packaging material by 2025, and use 50% recycled material in bottles and cans by 2030.

As part of the initiative, the company also announced on Wednesday that a majority of Dasani bottles in North America will now be sold in 100% recycled plastic (excluding caps and labels), rolling out this summer. Coca-Cola said that Dasani’s transition to 100% recycled plastic is projected to save more than 20 million pounds of new plastic, compared to 2019, and cut more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 alone, as creating bottles from recycled plastic uses less energy than virgin PET.

New bottles made from 100% recycled plastic (rPET) *launching in the U.S.
Source: Coca-Cola
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