NORTH AMERICA – Coca-Cola has announced plans to switch green Sprite bottles to clear bottles effective August 1, in a bid to boost recycling in North America.

The move to transition from green plastic is intended to increase the amount of recycled plastic that can be used for food packaging, Coca-Cola said in its press release announcing the new bottles.

The company said that green and other colored plastics are often remade into single-use items like clothing and carpeting that cannot be recycled into new PET bottles.

As part of this effort, Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest U.S. bottler for the beverage company, is working with plastic processing company R3cycle to implement bottle-to-bottle recycling in its 14-state territory.

Along with the sprite bottles, the Atlanta-based beverage giant also will convert the majority of Dasani water bottles in the United States to 100 percent recycled PET starting this summer.

Coca-Cola also indicated a majority of Dasani bottles in the United States — from 20 ounces to 1.5 liter-single bottle and 10-ounce and 12-ounce multipacks — will be made from 100 percent recycled plastic. All Dasani bottles in Canada will be in recycled PET. This change does not include caps and labels, the company said.

The use of green PET for beverage containers has long been a topic of discussion within the plastics recycling sector.

Recyclers collect and reprocess green PET, but the resin has to be separated from clear PET containers to avoid color contamination. The segregated PET is often used for non-bottle applications such as strapping and carpeting.

Moving to clear PET will free up those containers for bottle-to-bottle efforts as Coca-Cola strives to use at least 50 percent recycled material in the company’s bottles and cans by 2030.

“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” said Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE Industries in a statement.

This transition will help increase the availability of food-grade rPET [recycled PET]. When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”

The company expects to eliminate the use of 20 million pounds of virgin plastic, when compared to 2019 totals, by making the switch.

Greenhouse gas emissions will decrease by more than 25,000 metric tons because recycled plastic bottles take less energy to create than their virgin counterparts, Coca-Cola said.

Coca-Cola ups revenue forecast after “strong” Q2 sales

Meanwhile, the company expects to generate a 12-13% rise in revenue, on an organic basis. When Coca-Cola posted its first-quarter results in April, the company forecast growth of 7-8%.

The company expects to see its “comparable currency neutral earnings per share” rise by 14-15% in 2022, up from its April estimate of growth of 8-10%. It maintained its forecast for annual comparable EPS to increase by 5-6%.

During the Diet Coke owner’s second quarter, which ran to 1 July, organic net revenue was up 16%. Coca-Cola said its organic revenue performance ‘was strong across operating segments.’

Coca-Cola’s unit case volumes increased 8%. The company said the fact the growth in its concentrate sales was “behind” its case volumes was ‘largely due to the timing of concentrate shipments.’

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