Sprite is retiring its green plastic bottles after more than 60 years.
Coca-Cola announced on Wednesday that it is changing packaging from green plastic to clear plastic starting August 1 as part of broader efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Sprite’s current plastic contains green polyethylene terephthalate (PET), an additive that cannot be recycled into new bottles, a key initiative for the company as it seeks to reduce plastic waste.
“Removing colors from bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, a plastics group helping Coca-Cola improve its recycling, said in a statement. “When recycled, clear Sprite PET bottles can be turned into bottles, helping to drive a circular economy for plastic.”
Customers will also notice a revamped logo and packaging design on Sprite bottles that aims to provide a “more consistent look and voice around the world,” the company said. The well-known green tint will always be used on Sprite labels.
Other drinks that use green bottles in Coke’s portfolio, including Fresca, Seagram’s and Mello Yello, will also be replaced with clear containers in the coming months.
Coca-Cola reported stronger-than-expected second-quarter results on Tuesday, citing strong demand, and raised its full-year revenue forecast.
The drinks giant has often been criticized for its contribution to environmentally harmful plastic waste. In 2020, the company was named the world’s #1 plastic polluter by environmental society Break Free From Plastic. Its logos and brand were found on 13,834 discarded pieces of plastic in 51 countries, often in public spaces such as parks and beaches.
In 2018, Coke announced its “World Without Waste” initiative with the ultimate goal of collecting and recycling one bottle or can for every bottle sold by 2030. Part of this initiative included the launch last year of a new 13.2 ounce bottle made from 100% recycled plastic.
The company also announced on Wednesday that the majority of Dasani bottles in the United States and Canada will now be sold in 100% recycled plastic. Coke said this innovation is expected to reduce approximately 20 million pounds of new plastic waste compared to 2019.