Sprite retiring its iconic green bottles after 61 years

Sprite is going green by abandoning the traditional green look it has had for six decades.

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The lemon-lime drink, best known for its distinctive green-colored bottles, is ditching its green-tinted look beginning Monday, according to a news release from Coca-Cola, the soft drink’s parent company.

The change will be part of Coca-Cola’s effort for more environmental responsibility, “Today” reported.

Green plastic made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is recyclable, but it does not always get recycled, according to Adweek. Any additives, such as color, make plastic more difficult to repurpose, according to the website.

“There is no value for green (plastic),” Jan Dell, founder of environmental nonprofit The Last Beach Cleanup, told Adweek in February. “No one wants green. Green is waste.”

The reason products like Sprite continued to use colored plastic was to give it a distinctive brand image, according to the website. Sprite has used green-colored bottles since the product was introduced in 1961.

“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material,” Julian Ochoa, CEO of R3CYCLE, a group helping Coca-Cola improve its recycling, said in a statement. “When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”

While the bottles will switch to a clear look, Sprite’s caps and labels will remain green -- but a brighter shade, “Today” reported.

“This is a huge and major update for the brand,” A.P. Chaney, director of creative strategy for sparkling flavors at The Coca-Cola Company, told Adweek. “Even some of the most iconic and historic brands need to meet the demands of today.”

Other Coca-Cola beverages that use green bottles, including Fresca, Seagram’s and Mello Yello, also will be replaced with clear containers over the next few months, CNN reported.