A trial in the UK could mean that Sprite bottles receive another makeover, just months after ditching the iconic green bottles.
Stephen Moorhouse, who is in charge of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, took to LinkedIn to reveal that a limited trial was taking place at select Tesco Express stores in Brighton & Hove, Bristol, London and Manchester.
It will see Sprite and Sprite Zero 500ml bottles go without labels and instead have embossed logos on the front and laser-engraved product and nutritional information on the back.
“This is one of several ways we’re exploring to simplify the recycling process, and reduce the use of packaging materials and I look forward to seeing the learnings from this innovative trial later this year,” Mr Moorhouse said.
“Thank you to our colleagues across the business and our partners at Tesco for launching this exciting pilot trial.”
Despite the obvious recycling benefits, some people have been less than enthusiastic to embrace the move, with some bringing concerns about product recognisability and visibility of nutritional information.
Product marketing expert @honeybeesocial told her TikTok followers that she expected the trial to be a “branding fail”.
“There is evidence of how badly this can fail,” she said in a video. “It just looks like a bottle of Seltzer water, you can’t actually recognise that it’s Sprite.”
She added: “The other beef that I have with this is the messaging that Coca-Cola has put out about this … to say you’re simplifying the recycling process is a crock of sh*t. I think this is really an example of that green washing that we’re seeing quite a lot, where businesses are saying, ‘we’re sustainable’ when they really aren’t.”
Another commented: “I think that is a bit of a recipe for disaster.”
“It will fail in the States,” someone else predicted.
Others disagreed, saying they would be able to distinguish the bottle no matter what.
A spokesperson from Coca-Cola Australia said there were no current plans to bring the trial to Australia but it was being watched closely.
“At Coca-Cola we’re always interested in exploring innovative packaging solutions that make sense for the local recycling infrastructure,” the spokesperson told news.com.au.
“We recently switched Sprite’s iconic green plastic bottles to clear plastic, making them easier to recycle into new bottles locally.”
In Australia, each state and territory – and even some council areas – have different rules when it comes to recycling. For instance, some say bottle caps should be left on bottles while others disagree.
It’s why Australia hasn’t been able to follow in the footsteps of Europe with attachable bottle caps.
Australia’s recycling program – which requires barcodes – also makes this a move that needs more consideration if the trial is ever expanded.