Coca-Cola Tests Labelless Sprite Bottles

First Published: January 30, 2024
Channel: News | Sustainability

In the most interesting development for labelless PET bottles, Coca-Cola has announced a trial of label-free bottles of its Sprite product in the UK.

Running until March 2024, eight Tesco stores will be selling the new package for Sprite and Sprite Zero.

The bottles are made of 100% recycled PET material and will feature an embossed logo on the front. Coca-Cola is using laser coding technology to add product and nutritional information to the rear.

The Coca-Cola press release doesn’t mention how EAN barcodes are added to the package.

There is certainly interest in the labelless concept at the moment, although there are certainly challenges:

  • How will visually impaired people be able to cope with the lower contrast marking on the product?
  • How will laser coding technology be able to print the required nutritional and other information to bottles at production line speeds?
  • What product handling will be needed to ensure everything on the bottle is in alignment? I’m assuming the bottles for the limited trial are being handled on an existing rotary labeling platform that can orient the bottles correctly for the laser.
  • What about producing EAN or UPC barcodes that can be scanned at existing point-of-sale terminals?

The label-free Sprite bottles are available at these Tesco Express stores:

LondonClerkenwell Central St ExpressEC1V 3AF
Bishopsgate ExpressEC2M 4LN
BristolBristol ExpressBS1 3DW
Totterdown ExpressBS3 4RJ
ManchesterCity Towers Manch ExpressM1 4AH
Whalley Range ExpressM16 8FA
Brighton & HoveBrighton Jubilee Street ExpressBN1 1GE
Hove Western Road ExpressBN3 1JB

The bottle and label combination that Coca-Cola currently uses for Sprite is already wholly recyclable, but the two components need to be separated as part of the recycling process. The labelless bottles eliminate this step, making the recycling process simpler.

I’ve been somewhat skeptical about this label-free concept, but it is gaining some traction.

What do you think?

Further Reading

Coca-Cola has provided a comprehensive FAQ covering the labelless test. You can read it here:
Coca-Cola FAQ

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