Akestra coffee mugA move by the European Commission has allowed for the sale of a thermoplastic co-polyester in food-contact packaging. That plastic, called Akestra, can also be used with recycled PET to boost its properties.

The European Commission on Sept. 14 added a key monomer in Akestra to its list of materials approved for food-contact packaging. Now, all components of Akestra are food safe. The plastic is produced by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. in Japan and Taiwan and is sold in Europe by Swedish chemical company Perstorp.

Akestra is a clear plastic marketed as an alternative to PET for thin-walled containers and to polycarbonate for durable transparent products. It has a high glass transition temperature of up to 110 degrees Celsius (230 degree Fahrenheit) and a deflection temperature under load that’s 86 degrees F higher than PET, according to a Perstorp press release.

The company expects Akestra to be used primarily in disposable packaging, particularly for hot foods and beverages.

The plastic can also be mixed with up to 80 percent recycled PET to increase its performance, according to the company. According to an article in AZO Materials, co-extruding PET and Akestra will lead to a high-heat-resistant packaging alternative to PS.

“Thanks to the food contact compliance the possible applications are now increased significantly as we see thin wall packaging as a key segment for Akestra going forward,” said Malin Johansson, Perstorp’s marketing communications manager.

Akestra has been sold in Europe since 2013 for non-food-contact applications. It is not yet available for sale in the U.S.