Sprite bottles are going clear to make them easier to recycle

When Sprite employed an advert company to work on the model within the late Sixties, it created an identification with inexperienced labels to emphasize the inexperienced bottle—which the model had used because it launched a number of years earlier, and which had develop into a signature. However immediately, you’ll see Sprite in new clear bottles rolling out on cabinets in California, Florida, and the Northeast. By 2022, all plastic Sprite bottles nationwide might be clear.

It’s a part of a push to make the bottles extra recyclable. “Technically, green-colored plastic is recyclable,” says Alpa Sutaria, sustainability chief for the Coca-Cola Firm North America, which owns the Sprite model. However, she says, “it’s a problem to reuse that materials within the type of high-quality, food-grade recycled PET. And that’s actually what we’re after.”

[Photo: The Coca-Cola Company]

Most recycling services use mechanical recycling, which means that after plastic bottles are sorted and cleaned, they’re floor up into small flakes that may be melted into new materials. If the plastic is dyed, it will probably’t simply be turned again into clear plastic, so it’s much less invaluable for the general market. “It’s a extensively recognized problem throughout the recycling trade,” Sutaria says. New chemical recycling know-how can overcome the issue, turning any type of plastic—not simply coloured bottles, however even issues like outdated carpets or polyester T-shirts—into pristine clear plastic. However “the truth is that despite the fact that it might be one thing that we are able to do on a small scale, or in a lab, it’s not but commercially out there at a big scale,” she says.

The corporate has already began to shift to clear packaging in another markets, together with the U.Okay. and Southeast Asia. “What we are studying from a few of the different markets is that so long as there’s nonetheless good branding and communication in regards to the change from inexperienced to clear that buyers are enthusiastic about it,” says Aaliyah Shafiq, model chief for Sprite. The colour inexperienced isn’t going away fully, for the reason that firm nonetheless plans to apply it to labels and in glass bottles.


However shifting to clear Sprite bottles may help give a lift to the general provide of recycled PET plastic. (Clear bottles for different drinks, akin to Fresca and Seagrams, are additionally coming.) Coca-Cola is starting to transfer to 100% recycled plastic throughout a number of manufacturers, together with Dasani and Smartwater, and new 13.2-ounce bottles of Coke. The brand new clear bottles of Sprite can even be comprised of 100% recycled plastic and might be out there first within the 13.2-ounce dimension.

“There may be an growing demand for actually high-quality recycled PET throughout america—and albeit world wide—as an increasing number of international locations and an increasing number of producers are shifting to embrace greater ranges of recycled content material of their packaging,” says Sutaria. Coke goals to acquire or recycle a bottle or can for each bottle or can it sells by the tip of the last decade, and to use 50% recycled materials in its bottles and cans by that time. Proper now, that a lot provide doesn’t exist. One giant a part of the problem is to improve recycling charges and strengthen recycling infrastructure. The corporate might additionally theoretically assist shrink its personal demand by doing extra to construct up new enterprise fashions that depend on reusable bottles. However ditching coloured bottles is a method to assist.