Coca Cola has announced their decision to phase out Sprite’s iconic green bottle in Southeast Asia. The replacement will be a clear PET bottle that boosts the recyclability of the plastic packaging. The switch follows suit from a similar movement taking place in Western Europe.

Clear PET bottles are more versatile

Sprite’s current green PET plastic bottles are 100% recyclable. However, research conducted in Southeast Asia found that green PET bottles are less valuable in the after-use market compared to clear plastic. As green PET is dyed, transparent plastic is more likely to be reused. This is due to its versatility to remain clear or be coloured.

The movement from one of the biggest brands in the world hopes to encourage other food and beverage manufacturers to switch to clear packaging. While green PET is 100% recyclable in the UK, Coca Cola may transition to clear plastic bottles in the future to maintain brand consistency.

Potential expansion into global markets

However, there’s marketing concerns with the switch from green to clear packaging. Without the iconic green bottle, the Sprite brand may struggle to stand out on shelves filled with other clear plastic bottles. Trialling success in Southeast Asia will uncover whether these concerns have any truth in them. It will also help to predict the success of using clear PET bottles in other markets should expansion occur globally.

Avoid black plastic packaging

A significant problem in food and beverage packaging is that black plastic is not recyclable. Some companies insist on using dark coloured plastic as it makes their food look more attractive to consumers. In reality, waste sorting machines cannot detect the colour black due to the carbon pigments used to dye the plastic. Not being recycled leads to a significant amount of plastic waste in landfill or incineration. In time, switching from black to clear plastic packaging will improve recyclability and lead to less waste.

It’s important to note that even if we recycle newly created plastic, we’re still increasing demand for it. There’s so much existing plastic that can be recycled and reused on the market. What would be even better is if food and beverage companies switched from using newly created plastics to recycled plastics. rPET involves turning existing PET plastic bottles into flakes that can be reused to create other plastic packaging. This way, we can reduce the demand for new plastics and the amount of fossil fuels that are consumed from production.

Pro Environmental are the UK’s leading PET specialists. Learn more about the advantages of using rPET here.

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