Coca-Cola Company today (July 27) announced two major packaging changes to improve recycling: Sprite will switch from its green bottle to a clear one in August and Dasani waters are rolling out bottles made from 100% recycled PET plastic.
Coca-Cola says “a majority” of Dasani bottles in the U.S. and all bottles in Canada—from 20-oz. and 1.5-liter singles to 10-oz. and 12-oz. multipacks—will be offered in 100% recycled plastic shortly (excluding caps and labels). “The shift supports both Dasani’s pledge to remove the equivalent of 2 billion virgin plastic bottles from production by 2027 and the company’s World Without Waste goal to use at least 50% recycled material in its bottles and cans by 2030,” the announcement said.
The brand’s transition to 100% recycled plastic is projected to save more than 20 million pounds of new plastic, compared to 2019, and cut more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (creating bottles from recycled plastic uses less energy than virgin PET) in 2023 alone.
“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.”
Sprite, meanwhile, is shifting all plastic PET packaging from its signature green color to clear, beginning Aug. 1. 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. 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 of R3CYCLE, which is working with Coca-Cola Consolidated to enable bottle-to-bottle recycling across the bottler’s 14 state-territory. “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.”
Coca-Cola North America’s entire green plastic portfolio—including packaging for Fresca, Seagram’s and Mello Yello—will transition to clear PET in the coming months.