O-I retiree stays involved in recycling effortsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Jerry Bannister helped establish glass recycling during his 35 years working at Owens-Illinois and remains active in recycling efforts since retiring from the company in 2000.
“I stayed involved because there is a huge need for recycled glass and it’s good for the environment,” Bannister said. “We need recycled glass to make more glass.”
Recycled glass obtained mostly from public collection programs is processed to make cullet used with raw materials to produce glass bottles and containers. About 85 percent of cullet comes from states with bottle deposit laws, according to Bannister and the company.
O-I remains a leading producer of glass containers for beer, liquor, wine, and food products such as Gerber baby food. The company recently began making glass baby bottles again, according to Rich Crawford, president of O-I Global Glass Operations.
“O-I was involved in recycling way before it became cool,” Bannister said. “Some of the bottles they make today are produced with as much as 85 percent recycled glass.”
The company was one of the founders of the “Keep America Beautiful” movement that portrayed a Native American crying about littering of the land in an award-winning public service announcement that aired on television.
Bannister continues to serve as a board member for the Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful, Keep Perrysburg Beautiful and Keep Ohio Beautiful organizations.
Bannister helped expand glass recycling at O-I based on the growing need for cullet. After working for many years in sales and marketing, he became director of recycling and public affairs for the company in 1992.
Part of that job involved the promotion of recycling at drop-off sites, such as ones at Kroger stores, and curbside recycling programs, such as the City of Toledo operates.
“We’re trying to get more people involved in curbside recycling, particularly glass,” he said.
For years, O-I processed recycled glass into cullet used in making new glass at its plants. After acquiring Brockway Glass with plants that didn’t have cullet processors, O-I decided to spin-off that part of the operation to third-party processors, Bannister said.
Bannister grew up in Toledo, graduated from DeVilbiss High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management at Ohio University.
He served as a lieutenant in the Army’s First Armored Division at Fort Hood in Texas for nearly three years.
He began his long career with O-I in 1965, serving in sales and marketing positions in Kansas City, Grand Rapids, Mich., Boston, New York and Hartford. He moved back to Toledo in 1977 as director of marketing for the beer industry.
Bannister served as director of sales and marketing for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He and his family lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two years, but returned to Toledo in 1982 continuing the job from there until 1992 due to the high cost of keeping employees overseas.
His three children graduated from Perrysburg High School and college. One daughter and son live in Perrysburg, while the other daughter lives in Colorado. He and his wife, Sharon, live in the same house in Perrysburg where they raised their family.