Critics Accuse Coca-Cola of Greenwashing as Sprite Bottles Change Colors

Coca-Cola is being accused of “greenwashing” as the company announced that it is replacing all green plastic bottles with more easily recycled clear plastic.

Beverages like Sprite, Seagram’s, Fresca, and Mello Yello will ditch the green on August 1 but critics say that it’s not enough to offset the amount of single-use plastic the company creates. Dasani will also switch the blue for clear plastic, while Sprite is receiving a logo change as well.

Kate Melges, leader of the Plastics Project at Greenpeace, said

“Coca-Cola’s recent announcement is yet another blatant greenwashing attempt from one of the world’s worst plastic polluters. We are in the midst of a massive plastic pollution crisis and we cannot recycle our way out of it.”

According to data it supplied to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2019, Coca-Cola is one of the biggest manufacturers of single-use plastic garbage in the world, producing more than 100 billion plastic bottles annually.

PET, also known as polyethylene terephthalate, is the most common form of plastic used to make soft drink bottles. Although PET is recyclable and lightweight, it can take hundreds of years for PET to disintegrate. Only around 29% of PET plastic is recycled in the United States.

The green plastic currently used can only be recycled into one-time use things such as clothes and carpeting. 

Coca-Cola says a goal is to increase the supply of recycled plastic that it can use to make future bottles. It currently uses 23% recycled materials, with hopes to increase that to 50% by 2030.

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