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Water brand latest to jump on the environmental bandwagon

On March 16, bottled water brand Evian announced the international launch of a new water bottle made with 50 percent recycled PET plastic.

The French multinational firm, which launched the container design earlier this month in France, claims that these newly designed 1.5L bottles are more environmentally friendly than before as they contain 50 percent recycled PET plastic, are 100 percent recyclable and use 11 percent less plastic than the previous design.

The announcement comes a day after PepsiCo announced the development of what it claims is the "world's first PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant based renewable resources." PepsiCo's bottle is made from Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic derived from organic substances such as corn husks. Like Evian's new bottle, PepsiCo's design is also 100 percent recyclable.

The Evian bottle is also supposedly "easier to crush ," which, the company points out, will allow it to take up less space in recycling bins; this aspect of the bottle is promoted in the brand's TV commercial.

However, though multinational companies such as PepsiCo and Evian may be touting their green credentials, environmentalists remain unconvinced, with many seeing them as polluting and wasteful.

National Geographic reports that Americans alone purchase 29 billion water bottles, which require 17 million barrels of crude oil to manufacture and only one in six plastic bottles is recycled.

During the production of these bottles around 6kg of carbon dioxide is produced for every of 1kg of PET (the plastic commonly used for bottles) - according to Enso Bottles (manufacturers of bio-degradable containers); and while Pepsi's bio-degradable design uses plant extracts it still ignites the debate about overgrowing food for uses other than consumption.

More information about Evian's re-designed bottle, which will be seen in international markets later this month, is available on the brand's website. PepsiCo's plant-based PET bottle is expected to undergo a trial period in 2012 before being made commercially available.