Dart Container Corp. is closing a Solo Cup factory that's been in operation for more than 50 years, a move that will cost about 135 jobs by the end of the year.
Dart, which bought Solo Cup Co. in 2012, blames the move in Urbana, Ill., on "declining production volume."
The 300,000-square-foot plant in Urbana makes Solo's most famous product — the red cup that's become synonymous with parties. But the facility also makes other cups, lids and containers.
"Our Urbana facility has employed hundreds of community residents since it began operations in 1972, first under Solo Cup Company and then under Dart Container," CEO Keith Clark said in a statement. "For some, the plant provided them their first summer job. For others, it was the start of a long career with the company."
For the impacted workers, the company will provide severance and job placement assistance as those careers come to an end this year.
"Other Dart locations in its production and distribution network can absorb Urbana's current volume and customers," the company said.
Employment will dwindle in the months ahead as the company fulfills production commitments, Dart said.
"Closing this location is a necessary business decision, but it's a painful one because we value the commitment and contributions of our Urbana employees, many of whom have been with us for decades," Clark said.
Dart, based in Mason, Mich., has 13,500 employees in more than 30 locations offering a portfolio of 3,000 products. The privately held company is best known for making food and beverage packaging from expanded polystyrene, but the firm also uses other plastics such as PET, polypropylene and rigid PS. Dart also offers paper-based products.