While existing 50cl Volvic bottles were made from non-renewable petroleum, the new bottles, rolling out in December, will be made from 25% recycled plastic derived from used bottles and BioPET, a new plant-based plastic developed by brand owner Danone.
The BioPET, made from PET and fermented and dehydrated sugarcane waste, meant bottles contained 20% plant material, reducing the amount of non-renewable material required, said Danone.
They therefore had a 38% lower packaging carbon footprint and a 16% lower lifecycle footprint, it claimed. They also weighed 15g 2g less than existing bottles.
Danone, which will flag up the changes on pack, described the move as "a milestone" in its plan to reduce the global carbon footprint of Volvic by 40% on 2008 levels by 2012.
"What we're announcing today is just the first step to integrating renewable materials into our bottles," said Stéphane Cousté, director of nature committee, Evian Volvic Worldwide.
However, he disagreed that suppliers had a fight on their hands to improve the environmental credentials of bottled water.
"It's not a matter of overturning consumer perception, rather reducing the impact of our products and our business as much as we can," he said. "We've set high goals, and genuinely cutting-edge innovation such as BioPET is necessary to meet them."
This week also saw the launch of a new 'green' 50cl bottle from British bottled water brand Belu. Made from 50% recycled PET, and with a 46% carbon saving compared to its PET equivalent, Belu claimed it used more recycled plastics than any other plastic-bottled water on the UK market.
"The bottled water sector has been criticised for not doing enough to recycle or to use recycled plastics in the manufacturing process," said MD Karen Lynch.The company's new green credentials would help it expand beyond restaurants and into mainstream grocery, she added.