• Shaun Bateman

The future is clear as Sprite moves to new, clear pet plastic bottles

As part of its World Without Waste strategy, The Coca‑Cola Company is moving away from its iconic green packaging to fresh, new clear PET plastic bottles for its sparkling lemon-lime drink, Sprite.

“The future is clear,” says Stephan Czypionka, Marketing Director of Coca-Cola Africa. “We’re on a journey to create a World Without Waste and moving to clear Sprite bottles means more of our bottles can be collected, recycled and reused to make new bottles.”

As part of its World Without Waste strategy, The Coca-Cola Company aims to collect a bottle or can for each one it sells by 2030. The company also aims to include 50% recycled content in its bottles by 2030. According to the PET Recycling Company (PETCO), 62% of PET bottles were collected after use and recycled in South Africa in 2019.

The Coca-Cola system in South Africa currently uses an average of 8% recycled content in its bottles, but the company needs more clear bottles to be collected and recycled to use in new bottles if it is to meet its recycled content target.

“With Sprite shifting to clear bottles it means more bottles available for repurposing into new bottles,” explains Mr Czypionka. “Now everyone can enjoy their favourite sparkling lemon-lime drink knowing their bottle can be easily recycled and made into new bottles.” In addition to the environmental benefits, clear PET brings added economic benefits.

COVID-19 has severely impacted the recycling industry and has had a devastating effect on the incomes of more than 60 000 informal waste reclaimers who depend on collecting and selling packaging waste for a living.

Because clear PET can be made into a wide range of new products, such as pillow and duvet inners, as well as new bottles, it is more valuable than green PET, which has limited uses. “Moving to clear PET will also help in maximising the use of recycled and renewable materials and minimise the use of virgin materials,” says Mr Czypionka.