Chones/Shutterstock; Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company
The days of green Sprite bottles have been numbered for some time. Though green plastic bottles can be recycled, clear ones are a more useful recyclable material. And so The Coca-Cola Company, the owner of the brand, had already started transitioning from Sprite's iconic green bottles to more environmentally-friendly clear bottles in places like the United Kingdom. By last year, clear Sprite bottles began popping up in parts of the United States, according to Fast Company, but today, the other shoe has dropped: Coca-Cola has announced that, starting August 1, all Sprite bottles across the U.S. and Canada will transition to clear packaging.
Along with the new clear bottles, Coca-Cola has announced that Sprite's entire visual identity will get a revamp "to provide a consistent look and voice around the world." The brand's graphics will keep its green color, but will now feature more prominent "Recycle Me" messaging to help hammer home the change in bottle design. A Coca-Cola spokesperson explained that, by the end of 2021, 47 countries had switched from green to clear Sprite bottles, and by the end of this year, over 70 more markets will have joined that list.
"Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material," Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3cycle, one of the recycling companies working with Coca-Cola, stated in the announcement. "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."
Along those lines, Sprite isn't the only Coca-Cola brand that is going greener by ditching its green packaging. The company says that Fresca, Seagram's, and Mello Yello will also begin moving to clear packaging starting in October, part of Coca-Cola's plan to transition their entire green plastic portfolio to clear plastic.
Plus, today's announcement included another major promise: Coca-Cola's flagship bottled water brand, Dasani, is also getting a sustainability upgrade: The majority of the brands' bottles will be made from 100 percent recycled plastic (minus the caps and labels) in the U.S. and Canada this summer.
Both changes are part of Coca-Cola's "World Without Waste" initiative which the company launched in 2018. The program's key tenets were to make 100 percent of their packaging recyclable by 2025, to use 50 percent recycled material for new packaging by 2030, to have at least 25 percent of the company's drinks sold in refillable or returnable packaging by 2030, and to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030.