By Madeline Condor | Staff Writer
Waco’s Owens-Illinois glass plant plans to stop production on Oct. 16 and will ultimately close its doors in December. It has not been announced what will be done about the employees of the facility.
The company has produced glass packaging for the beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage markets since 1944. James Woods, a public relations specialist with the company, said O-I has been proud to serve the Waco community at 5200 Beverly Drive for many years.
“O-I continuously evaluates the long-term needs of the business and the viability of the assets at each manufacturing facility to best serve our critical customer base,” Woods said. “As such, a decision has been made to close the Waco facility. O-I has met with our team members and union officials to communicate this decision and discuss transitional support available both through the company and through the State of Texas government agencies.”
There are a total of 300 employees in the glass plant, including 90 who were on layoff early this year due to damage to one of the plant’s three furnaces, which occurred during the winter storm of February 2021.
Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said he was disheartened to learn of O-I’s closing, but there are employment opportunities in Waco for O-I’s employees.
“On days like this, while saddened by this news, we can all be grateful for a strong local economy,” Meek said. “In fact, there are currently nearly 1,600 vacant jobs in Waco now. We will work with our economic development partners to help current O-I employees find one of these many jobs locally. Waco remains a great city for businesses to be successful, and I have no doubt that with our aggressive economic strategies, our economy will remain strong.”
Owens-Illinois began a Glass4Good recycling partnership with Keep Waco Beautiful in early January, but neither the company nor the nonprofit have announced what will happen to the program after the glass plant closes.