Industry News

Coca-Cola has announced that they will be trialling label-free Sprite and Sprite Zero bottles

by | Feb 9, 2024

There will soon be a change to the way Sprite and Sprite Zero on-the-go bottles look, as Coca-Cola has decided to remove the labels on the bottles. This choice has been made on a trial basis, in order to determine if removing the labels entirely could be an effective plastic waste reduction solution.

Even though Coca-Cola has already ensured that all of their current labels are fully recyclable, the aim behind their decision to trial the removal of them, is to cut down on the amount of packaging material the company uses. The other aim behind the choice is to make it even easier for consumers to recycle the bottle, therefore reducing plastic waste even further, through eliminating the need to separate the bottle from the packaging, encouraging consumers to recycle them.

This mission to reduce their plastic usage, has been an ongoing journey for Coca-Cola, which can be seen in the way the bottles have been being manufactured out of 100% recycled PET for a while now. Another effort the company has made is through changing the colour of their Sprite bottles, from green to clear, which made the bottles more recyclable. Coca-Cola have strived to make their bottles as lightweight as possible, whilst also reducing any unnecessary materials, as well as excess outer packaging, this included their decision to start using attached bottle caps, as this would help to reduce the amount of littering caused by their products.

This new step in the company’s journey to reducing plastic waste and being more environmentally friendly will occur through the labels being removed from the 500ml Sprite and Sprite Zero bottles . Instead of a label, these bottles will be embossed with the logo and the required nutritional information will be laser-engraved at the back of the bottle.

The plan for this new packaging design, will be for them to be sold in eight Tesco express stores throughout England. These stores will be located in Brighton and Hove, Bristol, London and finally, Manchester. They will be trialled over the time period of January to March within 2024.

VP Franchise Operations, GB&I at Coca-Cola Great Britain, Dusan Stojankic, commented, “We want to help create a future where plastic drink packaging will always have more than one life. Labels contain valuable information for consumers, but with the help of technology we can now trial other ways to share this information while reducing the amount of packaging we use. Going label-less might seem like a small step, but it is one of several ways we are exploring making recycling easier, minimizing waste, and minimizing the impact of our packaging on the environment.”

VP Marketing, Coca‑Cola Europe, Javier Meza, added, “The trial we are announcing today is a milestone for the industry. It’s the first time these two technologies have been used in a pilot globally, where a Coca‑Cola product will appear in a label-less, single-unit bottle sold in-store. Although the design change may sound simple, this is a big shift from a marketing perspective. This trial could contribute to longer-term changes to the way brands communicate with their consumers.”

Head of Packaging and Food Waste Strategy at Tesco, James Bull, mentioned, “We want to help our customers minimize the environmental impact of the products they buy, including removing plastic and packaging when possible. This trial of label-less packaging by Sprite is a great example of how brands are innovating to provide those solutions.”

Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, Allison Ogden-Newton, also said, “It’s clear that, as a society, we need to reduce, reuse and recycle more, and waste less. Everyone, including businesses, needs to be part of the solution. We welcome this exciting and innovative trial.”

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