Coca-Cola is making an even greener Sprite bottle … that isn’t actually green at all.
As of Aug. 1, 2022, Sprite bottles will no longer come in their well-known lemony-lime green hue and, instead, will be clear.
Going green by removing green
To achieve this goal, the company had to change the bottles of some of its most iconic drinks, including its fourth-best-selling drink, Sprite.
Green polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the additive used to give Sprite bottles that iconic green tint for the past 60 years — and it’s what makes Sprite bottles difficult to recycle into new bottles.
Although we can recycle green plastic, the color additive reduces the quality of the recyclable material. Instead of being recycled into another plastic bottle that can be recycled again and again like clear plastic, Sprite plastic bottles get recycled into single-use plastics, like carpeting or clothes.
This transition will increase the likelihood of Sprite bottles being recycled into new bottles. It’s one way Coca-Cola is trying to create a more circular economy for its beverage packaging.
Reusing plastic, rather than creating more, can reduce the amount of harmful gas pollution entering our air from plastic manufacturing and from plastic trash collecting in our cities and oceans.
Sprite isn’t the only beverage undergoing a packaging change. Coca-Cola’s other green-bottled drinks — Fresca, Mello Yello, and Seagram’s — will also transition to clear bottles in the coming months.
The Coca-Cola Company isn’t putting all of its eggs into one recycling basket — it’s also focusing some of its efforts on reusable packaging.
Coca-Cola is turning the tide
Seeing images of pollution floating in our oceans, most of us can recognize certain items — plastic grocery bags, candy wrappers, and plastic beverage bottles. Taking a closer look, you might even be able to identify which company a piece of trash came from.
In 2021, for the fourth year in a row, the organization named Coca-Cola Company the world’s worst corporate plastic polluter.
Coca-Cola’s effort to create a circular economy for packaging has the potential to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our planet, minimize the toxic fumes from plastic manufacturing harming our lungs, and protect wildlife from choking on plastics.“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, which is working with Coca-Cola on recycling measures, said in a press release. “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.”