Solo Cup Company on June 8 announced that it will close its Owings Mills, Md.; North Andover, Mass.; and Springfield, Mo., manufacturing facilities due to improved production efficiency across its 10 other North American manufacturing plants. The North Andover and Springfield facilities are expected to close in mid-to-late 2011, and the Owings Mills facility is expected to close in mid 2012. The plant closings eventually will result in the elimination of approximately 540 full-time manufacturing positions in Owings Mills, 360 in North Andover and 340 in Springfield.

“These decisions are never easy because we know they affect the lives of our employees and their families. It was important to us to give them as much advance notice as possible and we will work to make it a smooth transition for them,” said Robert M. Korzenski, president and chief executive officer, Solo Cup Company. “We are grateful for their years of dedicated service to Solo.”

Production volume and certain manufacturing assets will be distributed across Solo’s other facilities, while other less efficient assets will be retired. Solo intends to invest in its remaining locations and expects to increase employment at these facilities over the next 12 to 24 months as volume increases. All affected employees will have the opportunity to pursue employment at other Solo facilities and will be given priority over other candidates.

“We have invested approximately $150 million over the past two years to upgrade our manufacturing assets and increase the efficiency of our operations. As a result, we are now able to be more productive within a smaller manufacturing footprint,” said George Chappelle, chief operating officer, Solo Cup Company. “Continuous improvement is critical to remaining competitive and to positioning the company for growth, especially as the market for our products has contracted in the difficult economy.”

Solo Cup Company is a $1.5 billion company exclusively focused on the manufacture of single-use products used to serve food and beverages for the consumer/retail, foodservice and international markets. Solo has broad product offerings available in paper, plastic, foam, post-consumer recycled content and annually renewable materials, and creates brand name products under the Solo, Sweetheart and Bare by Solo names. The company was established in 1936 and has a global presence with facilities in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Panama and the United States.