The Coca-Cola Company announced last Wednesday that it will be changing the packaging for its lemon drink Sprite from a green plastic bottle to a clear one. The new look will be available in the market starting this month in a move aimed at reducing the carbon and plastic footprint of the company. The new packaging bottle increases the likelihood of recycling, according to a statement released by the company.
“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, a plastic group helping Coca-Cola improve its recycling, said in a statement. “When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”
Coca-Cola has been under pressure from environmental campaigners to reduce its plastic and carbon footprint for years now. The latest move is an indication of the company’s willingness to change its practices for a better environment. Even so, the change to clear plastic still falls short of expectations.
The plastic cannot be recycled into new PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles according to the company. However, it could be recycled into clothing or carpeting. PET is a strong, clear and 100% recyclable plastic that, when used, can be recycled for other purposes. This is according to the American Beverage Association.
Apart from changing Sprite bottles, Coca-Cola is also looking at changing packaging for other beverages, including Dasani water, Fresca, Seagram’s, and Mello Yello. In a statement, the giant beverage brand said that it will switch to full PET plastic bottles for the water excluding the caps and labels. Changing Dasani’s packaging alone is projected to save more than 20 million pounds of plastic compared to 2019 and cut more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The statement by Coca-Cola also said that customers should expect a more revamped logo and design. Through its logo and packaging design, the company wishes to provide a consistent tone around the world. However, the green hue used in its design will still be present on its logo.
In 2020, Coca-Cola was ranked as the number one plastic pollution contributing brand in the world according to environmental firm Break Free From Plastic. Its massive dependence on plastic packaging has been criticized by pro-environment activists for its anti-environmental practices. According to Break Free From Plastic data, 13,834 pieces of discarded plastic bearing Coca-Cola’s logos and branding were found around the world in 51 countries. Such reports have pushed the brand to put in place some mitigation measures.
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