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Why is Coca-Cola getting rid of the green Sprite bottle?

Why is Coca-Cola getting rid of the green Sprite bottle? Exploring environmental responsibility initiatives

Coca-Cola will stop producing the iconic green Sprite bottle on August 1st and switch to clear plastic to be more environmentally friendly. After a remarkable 60 years, the US division of the international beverage company is saying goodbye to green bottle packaging.

As government agencies continue to pressure beverage companies to reduce the amount of plastic waste, the company hopes this will make it easier to recycle soda bottles.

Green PET, which can be used to replicate single-use products such as clothing, is included in the existing green bottles. However, it cannot be recycled into new bottles.

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Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, a plastics organization that supports Coca-Cola, claims:

“The quality of the recycled material is improved when colors are removed from bottles. Clear PET Sprite bottles can be recycled and turned back into bottles, driving the circular economy for plastic.”

In a few months, the same will happen to other Coca-Cola products marketed in green plastic bottles, such as Fresca, Seagram and Mello Yello.

To protect the environment, Coca-Cola will replace Sprite’s famous green bottle.

It turns out that green packaging is bad for the environment. The colorful bottle needs to be separated from the other bottles as it contaminates the recycling process.

This increases the likelihood that the bottle will end up in landfills. Also, since there isn’t a big market for green plastic, recyclers don’t make much money selling the material to make new packaging.

Chris Vallette, Senior Vice President of Technical Innovation and Stewardship, The Coca-Cola Company explains:

Our bottles are now clear, a significant change for the brand that increases the likelihood that they will go through the recycling process and come back to us as recycled PET.

The company will take this opportunity to update the Sprite logo while retaining the brand’s green color and adding a clear “Recycle Me” message.

This is a positive development as global efforts are being made to minimize plastic pollution to protect the oceans and fight climate change in countries like the US, Canada and India. When they banned the use of brightly colored plastic to increase recycling nearly 20 years ago, Korea and Japan set the ball rolling.

The World Without Waste program was launched by Coca-Cola in 2018. By 2030, the company wanted all of its packaging to be recyclable and get one bottle for every bottle sold.

To achieve that goal, the beverage giant will use only recycled plastic to make Dassani bottles, which will be sold in the United States and Canada. They can save an estimated 10,000 tons of virgin plastic over the coming year if they do it alone.

When you consider the 3 million tons of plastic the company uses annually, that still makes only a small dent.

According to Oceana senior vice president Matt Littlejohn, recycling bottles doesn’t guarantee they won’t end up harming the environment. He goes on to say that only 30% of the bottles are recycled while the remaining 70% end up in landfill.

Littlejohn advises expanding a refillable design and investing in infrastructure and curbside recycling to address this issue.

The company’s UK division began introducing new models of plastic bottles with attached lids as part of its efforts to improve recycling practices and protect the environment. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP), both of which are in high demand for recycling, are used to make plastic bottle caps.

However, customers often send bottles for recycling without caps. The attached cap is meant to make recycling of the whole packaging much easier and keep the caps out of landfills.