The $213,600 fine marks the 10th time O-I Glass has faced emissions penalties since 2004. | Jared Paben/Resource Recycling

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined O-I Glass for its air emissions, just a few years after the cullet end user agreed to install more pollution control equipment in a deal with the state over similar violations.

The plant idled one of its glass furnaces in July 2023 and has previously idled several more. It also laid off about 70% of its employees in July, blaming a downturn in the local wine market. In 2021, the plant recycled 240,000 pounds of glass containers a day and its furnace averaged 81% recycled content.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) last Wednesday fined Owens-Brockway Glass Container, a subsidiary of O-I Glass, $213,600 for violating emissions standards in its operating permit and for failing to comply with an interim agreement to limit pollution.

The agency called the infractions a decade-long pattern, with nine fines since 2004 for air quality violations on record. In 2022, O-I faced a $1 million fine over emissions at the Owens-Brockway facility, but as part of a settlement with the state, the fine was reduced to $662,000 on the condition that the facility would install pollution controls.

Now, the state is saying O-I, a key end user in the state’s glass recycling program, failed to meet those terms, with nine releases of particulate matter over the legal limits between July 2022 and May 2023. The company also did not report the July releases to the state. 

Owens-Brockway did implement a system to ensure all future excess emissions would be reported. It also corrected the conditions that caused the excess emissions, documents from the state noted. 

DEQ also noted that the company is still on track to install the required air pollution control technology by May 2024. 

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