A styrene-free alternative to high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) for opaque medical packaging has been introduced by Eastman Chemical Company in the European market. It's claimed to offer faster processing at lower temperatures.

According to the manufacturer, Eastman Eastalite copolyester helps fill an unmet need in the medical industry for sustainable and lightweight rigid medical packaging made without materials of concern such as butadiene, bisphenol A, bisphenol S, ortho-phthalates, or halogens such as chlorine or bromine.

Sheet extruded from Eastalite can be processed with the same thermoforming, trimming and sealing equipment as HIPS, with the added advantage of requiring lower process temperatures. Eastman also says that thermoforming Eastalite into rigid trays can cut down on waste and cleaning because of the reduced risk of particulates and angel hair generation, as well as lessen processing and inspection time.

Eastalite is available at a price comparable to HIPS, said Ferdi Faas, market development manager at Eastman.

Carolex is the first Europe-based extruder to use Eastalite to develop sheet material.

Commenting on the product, Laurent Bouchet, commercial director of VitasheetGroup Carolex, said that it is the first step toward creating lightweight packaging and will open up new opportunities for specific medical applications.

The new offering will be on display at COMPAMED 2014 in Dusseldorf, Germany, along with other new medical market offerings from Eastman.