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O-I hopes baby bottles boost sales

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Owens-Illinois Inc. is expanding its manufacturing business beyond beer and soda bottles to reach a younger crowd. The company is producing glass baby bottles with hopes of marketing them to large retailers. O-I also has an agreement with a breast-pump manufacturer to market the bottles directly to new mothers.

Jetta Fraser / The Blade
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It is still in its infancy, but Owens-Illinois Inc. is hoping to nurture a new effort, making glass baby bottles for consumers, a thriving new business.

The Perrysburg company has begun manufacturing glass baby bottles that it hopes to market directly to large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Inc. in hopes of capitalizing on newly discovered environmental concerns with plastic, company officials said.

O-I has signed up with a breast-pump maker to begin distributing its new baby bottles directly to new mothers as a healthy, sterile, and safe alternative to plastic and disposables, officials said.

The move is a departure for the firm, which hasn't sold directly to retailers for decades, concentrating its business on manufacturing packaging.

But company officials are hopeful that glass baby bottles will reintroduce glass as an environmentally friendly alternative that can salve new parents' concerns about potentially dangerous chemicals leaching from plastic.

- Larry P. Vellequette

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