All clear for Sprite

The Coca-Cola Company is to change its Sprite PET bottles in Southeast Asia from the brand’s iconic green to clear. The move is designed to boost recycling in the region, following a similar packaging change in Western Europe.

“We are beginning the transition this month in the Philippines, our largest market in ASEAN, and will expand to other markets in Southeast Asia through 2020,” said Belinda Ford, public affairs, communications and sustainability director at Coca-Cola ASEAN.

The development was welcomed by Ashwin Subramaniam, chief executive and founder of GA Circular, a circular economy action and advisory company looking at the circular economy in Asia.

“Our research in six countries across Southeast Asia has shown that a change from coloured PET to transparent PET greatly increases the value of the plastics in the after-use market and therefore its ability to remain in a circular economy and be used again and again for different purposes,” Subramaniam explained. “Phasing out the use of coloured PET beverage packaging is a key recommendation in our new report on accelerating the circular economy for post-consumer PET bottles in Southeast Asia and we applaud the decision by Coca-Cola to make the switch.”

Sprite has been sold in green bottles in Southeast Asia since the drink was first launched in the Philippines in 1968. “We all recognise that packaging waste is a major, urgent issue, especially in Southeast Asia,” Ford added. “This is a solvable problem and, together with our partners, we’re taking action now across ASEAN to be part of the solution. There’s still a long way to go, but we are determined to deliver a World Without Waste, where the equivalent of 100 per cent of our packaging is collected and recycled.”

Meanwhile, the beverage giant has also pledged to work with its industry peers in the region to establish packaging recovery organisations (PROs) in ASEAN, with Vietnam’s first PRO set to become operational in early 2020 and other countries to follow later in the year.