New York (CNN Business) — Sprite will retire its green plastic bottles after more than 60 years.
Coca-Cola announced Wednesday that it will switch from green packaging to clear plastic starting Aug. 1 as part of broader efforts to be more environmentally responsible.
The plastic in Sprite’s current bottle 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 recycled material,” Julián Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, a plastics group that helps Coca-Cola improve its recycling processes, said in a statement. “When recycled, Sprite’s clear PET bottles can be made back into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”
Customers will also notice a refreshed logo and packaging design on Sprite bottles that is intended to offer a more “consistent look and voice around the world,” the company said. The familiar shade of green will continue to be used in Sprite tags.
Other beverages using green bottles in Coca-Cola’s portfolio, such as Fresca, Seagram’s and Mello Yello, will also be replaced by clear packaging in the coming months.
Coca-Cola on Tuesday reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations, citing strong demand, and raised its full-year revenue forecast.
The beverage giant has frequently been criticized for contributing to environmentally damaging plastic waste. In 2020, the company was named the number 1 plastic polluter in the world by the environmental company Break Free From Plastic. Its logos and brands were found on 13,834 pieces of discarded plastic in 51 countries, particularly in public spaces such as parks and beaches.
In 2018, Coca-Cola announced its “World Without Waste” initiative with the ultimate goal of collecting and recycling one bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030. Part of that initiative included the launch of a new 13.2-ounce bottle (390 ml) last year that is made from 100% recycled plastic.
The company also announced Wednesday that the majority of Dasani bottles in the US and Canada will now be sold in 100% recycled plastic. Coca-Cola said this innovation is projected to reduce approximately 9,000 tons of new plastic waste compared to 2019.