To Go Green, Sprite Bottles Shedding the Green

Coca-Cola boosting sustainability packaging with other brands as well, including Dasani
Coca-Cola U.S. portfolio: Dasani Sprite Fresca Seagrams Mello Yellow
Photograph courtesy of the Coca-Cola Co.

ATLANTA — Dasani and Sprite, two of the Coca-Cola Co.’s biggest brands in North America, are taking significant steps to support a circular economy for plastic packaging.

Dasani is rolling out bottles made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, excluding caps and labels, and Sprite is transitioning from green to clear plastic to up the odds the material will be remade into new bottles.

Also in the coming months, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola North America’s entire green plastic portfolio—including packaging for Fresca, Seagram’s and Mello Yello—will transition to clear PET, the company said.

A majority of Dasani bottles in the United States—from 20-ounce and 1.5-liter singles to 10-ounce and 12-ounce multipacks—will be offered in 100% recycled plastic starting this summer.

In Canada, this innovation spans all Dasani bottles, supporting the brand’s pledge to remove the equivalent of 2 billion virgin plastic bottles from production by 2027 compared with 2021 levels and the company’s World Without Waste goal to use at least 50% recycled material in its bottles and cans by 2030, Coca-Cola said.

The brand’s transition to 100% recycled plastic, excluding caps and labels, is projected in 2023 alone to save more than 20 million pounds of new plastic compared with 2019. This also will cut more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 because creating bottles from recycled plastic uses less energy than virgin PET, the company said.

Beginning Aug. 1, Sprite shifts all plastic PET packaging from its signature green to clear. Although green PET is recyclable, the recycled material is more often converted into single-use items like clothing and carpeting that cannot be recycled into new PET bottles, Coca-Cola said. During the sorting process, green and other colored PET is separated from clear material 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, R3CYCLE, which is working with Coca-Cola Consolidated to enable bottle-to-bottle recycling across the largest U.S. bottler’s 14 state-territory. “This transition will help increase availability of food-grade recycled PET (rPET). When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”

In addition to transitioning to clear bottles, Sprite is introducing a new visual identity system featuring a revamped logo and packaging design to provide a consistent look and voice worldwide. Sprite’s packaging graphics will retain the brand’s recognizable green hue and include prominent “Recycle Me” messaging.

The Dasani announcement follows a successful launch of 100% recycled plastic bottles in New York, California and Texas that also included Coca-Cola trademark 20-ounce bottles, the company said. The launch helped Coca-Cola identify the best-quality sources of rPET and fine-tune production processes needed to make 100% recycled plastic bottles.

“Demand for rPET currently exceeds supply, so the first step to scaling up use of 100% rPET across our portfolio is building a sustainable pipeline of high-quality material,” said Chris Vallette, senior vice president of technical innovation and stewardship, Coca-Cola North America. “We do this by working with communities to boost PET recycling and collection; collaborating with recycling partners; and, finally, securing rPET to help ensure the material for our bottles is used again and again.”

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