Sprite trials label-less packaging in sustainability drive

Coca‑Cola will temporarily remove labels from Sprite and Sprite Zero on-the-go bottles this January in a limited trial of “label-less” packaging.

The pilot will see labels temporarily removed from single 500ml Sprite and Sprite Zero bottles and replaced with an embossed logo on the front of the pack.

Laser-engraved product and nutritional information will appear on the back of pack.

While existing labels in the UK are fully recyclable, removing them simplifies the recycling process, according to Coca Cola.

It removes the need to separate them from the bottles during the recycling process, and reduces the amount of packaging material used overall.

The limited trial bottles will feature green and transparent attached caps identifying them as Sprite or Sprite Zero respectively.

“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,” Dusan Stojankic, VP Franchise Operations, GB&I at Coca‑Cola Great Britain commented.

Javier Meza, VP Marketing, Coca‑Cola Europe highlighted the change from a marketing perspective:
“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.”

Sustainability focused-design

In recent years, Coca‑Cola introduced a number of design changes to help reduce packaging waste, including turning Sprite bottles from green to clear plastic to make them easier to recycle back into bottles.

It has also introduced attached caps to its bottles, ensuring that the cap stays connected to the bottle after opening to reduce the potential for littering; and invested in new designs to reduce the amount of packaging it uses, such as creating lightweight bottles and reducing the materials used in external packaging.

The bottles have been limited only to the UK and will not affect the Middle East.