Sprite is betting on the adage that it pays to be green — but perhaps not appear green.
The colorless, lemon-lime-flavored drink, perhaps best known for its distinctly green-colored packaging, announced that it’s shedding its most recognizable feature to, ironically, go green.
On Wednesday, the brand’s parent company Coca-Cola announced it would ditch the soft drink’s green-colored bottles in favor of clear bottles. The change will pop off Aug. 1 as part of an effort on the company's side to live up to its environmental responsibility.
In transitioning from its current plastic bottles, which contain green polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Coca-Cola aims to increase the likelihood of discarded Sprite bottles being recycled and made into new beverage bottles.
“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 explained in a statement on its site. “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.”
Sprite's bottle caps and labels, on the other hand, will remain green, albeit a noticeably brighter hue.
R3CYCLE is a reprocessing company working with Coca-Cola Consolidated to further bottle-to-bottle recycling for the bottler. Julian Ochoa, the CEO of R3CYCLE, shared in a statement that removing green from Sprite — and other bottled beverages — will help create a cleaner world.
“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” Ochoa explained. “This transition will help increase the availability of food-grade rPET. When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”
Since its debut in 1961, Sprite has stood out on shelves and attracted consumers with its vibrant green packaging. In 2014, a Coca-Cola Australia report praised the drink’s signature green color as contributing to its status as one of the most recognizable brands in the world. According to Brand Finance, in 2021, Sprite ranked No. 6 on the list of the world's strongest and most valuable Non-Alcoholic Drinks.