Sprite’s New Clear and Recyclable Bottles: Both a Slay and a Flop

Plastic: It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. And not just because it can take up to 500 years to decompose. Plastic’s easy to manufacture, not enough folks are boycotting it. If plastic’s ever getting cancelled, it’ll be thanks to some government regulations. 

Yet, in the meantime, we should do everything in our power to make our plastic products as recyclable as possible. Which is why it’s great that Coca-Cola Australia is ditching its green plastic Sprite bottles. From August onwards, our bottles will be clear.

Clear Sprite bottle
Image: Coca-Cola Australia

This is a slay because green Sprite bottles can only be recycled into other green Sprite bottles. Meanwhile, clear Sprite bottles can be recycled into Coca-Cola bottles, Lift bottles, you name it. The chance of a Sprite bottle getting recycled now has exponentially increased.

According to Kate Miller, the Marketing Director at Coca-Cola Australia, this change has been an important undertaking. 

“At Coca-Cola, we want our bottles to have more than one life,” said Miller in a statement.  “All our Sprite bottles under one litre are already made from 100% recycled PET plastic (excluding caps and labels).” 

“This initiative helps to support recycling systems and gives our bottles the best chance of being recycled and processed into new bottles locally. While Australians have known and loved Sprite in its iconic green bottle for nearly 60 years, we know this is the right thing to do.”

Now, did Coca-Cola Australia make this move as a publicity stunt? Or did it make this change because they care about our Earth? Well, our planet doesn’t care. The more plastic that gets recycled, the better.

However, just because these clear Sprite bottles are better, it doesn’t mean that they’re perfect. If Coca-Cola Australia ever wants to improve these bottles, then here is what they can do.

Sprite Bottles: Give Them Another Glow Up

Hank Green is a YouTube science communicator with some environmental expertise. In 2019, Green discussed everything that’s wrong with Sprite’s green bottles. 

Hank Green
Image: Hank Green

Which brings us to Green’s big concern: Sprite’s bottle caps. These bottle caps contain two types of plastic. When multiple types of plastics are recycled in tandem, the plastic they produce is of a lower quality. What’s more, the plastic in Sprite’s bottle caps is green.

“As far as I’m concerned, green plastic should be illegal. Because there’s no reason it should exist,” said Green.

Now, it’s unclear whether or not Coca-Cola Australia’s new Sprite bottle caps are made from multiple plastics. But unfortunately, they are still green. They are still way too tricky to recycle. 

In this circumstance, Coca-Cola Australia should have gone for broke. They could have led the sustainability charge by ditching this harmful design choice.

What’s more, Green has another issue with Sprite bottles. Around the bottom of each bottle, there are a bunch of aesthetic divots. According to Green, these divots are unnecessary and more plastic-intensive. 

“All these cute little divots and stuff, each one of those increases the amount of plastic that’s required for this bottle,” said Green. 

“Coca-Cola wants to be able to have a fancy bumpy bottle that makes you think it’s a premium product… Compete on the product, not on the bottle.”

So, did Coca-Cola Australia ditch these fancy bumps? Nope, they’re still here. Sprite’s clear bottles are still more plastic-intensive than they need to be. What a waste.

Clear Sprite bottle
Image: Coca-Cola Australia / The Latch

If you want to go through all of Green’s talking points, click the link here.

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