Title:
REFUSE DISPOSING UNIT
United States Patent 3659427
Abstract:
A garbage and refuse disposing unit is disclosed herein. The unit includes a housing for receiving refuse of all types, a compressor mechanism for compressing the refuse and freezing means for freezing the compressed refuse into dense or solid pellet-like units.


Inventors:
HARZA RICHARD D
Application Number:
05/029805
Publication Date:
05/02/1972
Filing Date:
04/20/1970
Assignee:
RICHARD D. HARZA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/527, 62/141, 62/341, 100/98A, 100/191, 100/215, 100/218, 100/226, 100/229A, 100/249, 100/290, 100/295, 100/317, 100/318
International Classes:
B30B9/30; (IPC1-7): F25D25/00
Field of Search:
62/62,60,341,320 100
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3501890METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PACKAGING COMPRESSIBLE MATERIAL1970-03-24Hunt
3438322REFUSE PRESS1969-04-15Marasco
3424078TRASH HANDLING AND BALING SYSTEM1969-01-28Boyd et al.
3384007Waster compacting device1968-05-21Boje et al.
3379123Hay baler attachment1968-04-23Weltner
3358590Waste compressor1967-12-19Howard
3301414Compaction container with material deflector1967-01-31Clar
3242684Freezing foodstuffs1966-03-29Sola
3088499Packaging apparatus1963-05-07Rieger
3041852Refrigerated garbage storage device1962-07-03Palmer
2428672Plunger for baling presses1947-10-07McClellan et al.
Primary Examiner:
Perlin, Meyer
Assistant Examiner:
Capossela, Ronald C.
Parent Case Data:


REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application, Ser. No. 677,206, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,514,969, filed on Oct. 23, 1967 and entitled FREEZING APPARATUS FOR GARBAGE DISPOSAL; and is related to Ser. No. 12,416 filed Feb. 18, 1970, and entitled METHOD FOR GARBAGE DISPOSAL which is a continuation of Ser. No. 824,874, filed May 15, 1969, now abandoned. Said abandoned application is a division of U.S. Pat. No. 3,514,969.
Claims:
The invention is claimed as follows

1. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a unit housing including a refuse storage compartment for storing refuse and a compressor compartment for compressing and freezing said refuse therein, said refuse storage compartment and said compressor compartment being positioned within said unit housing and adjacent each other, said unit housing further including loading door means for insertion of refuse within said refuse storage compartment; refuse supporting means positioned within said refuse storage compartment for receiving and supporting refuse inserted through said loading door means, said refuse supporting means being movable along with refuse therein to said compression compartment for compressing and freezing said refuse; compressor mechanism means mounted within said compressor compartment for compressing refuse located therein; and freezing means for freezing said compressed refuse into a dense pellet-shaped unit.

2. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 1 wherein said unit housing further includes second door means for inserting said refuse supporting means and refuse supported thereby into said compressor compartment, said second door means being further provided for removing said pellet-shaped unit therefrom.

3. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 1 wherein said refuse supporting means comprises a disposable bag which is compressible along with said refuse.

4. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 1 including means for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within both of said compartments at a freezing temperature for pre-chilling said refuse prior to compression thereof and freezing said refuse into a dense pellet-shaped unit during compression thereof.

5. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 1 wherein said refuse storage compartment and said compressor compartment include a common opening therebetween and wherein said refuse disposing unit further comprises conveyance means mounted within and to both of said compartments and through said opening for transporting said refuse supporting means and refuse therein from said refuse storage compartment to said compressor compartment.

6. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 5 wherein said conveyance means includes track means mounted to and extending through both of said compartments and vehicle means mounted to said track means for movement between said compartments, said vehicle means including connecting means for connecting said refuse supporting means thereto.

7. A method of disposing of refuse comprising: placing a disposable refuse container into a refuse storage housing; placing refuse in said container; mechanically transferring said container along with refuse therein to a compressor compartment; compressing and freezing said refuse and container so as to form a solid pellet-like unit.

8. A method according to claim 7 including the step of freezing said refuse prior to compression thereof.

9. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a refuse storage housing for storing refuse, said refuse storage housing being located inside a dwelling and including loading door means for insertion of refuse therein; a compressor housing for compressing and freezing said refuse, said compressor housing being located outside said dwelling; disposable refuse supporting means positioned within said refuse storage housing for receiving and supporting refuse inserted through said loading door means, said refuse supporting means being movable along with refuse therein to said compressor housing for compressing and freezing both said supporting means and said refuse; compressor mechanism means mounted within said compressor housing for compressing said supporting means and refuse located therein; and freezing means for freezing said compressed refuse into a dense pellet-shaped unit.

10. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 9 wherein said compressor housing includes compressor loading door means for inserting said supporting means and refuse into said compressor housing and unloading door means for removing said pellet-shaped units after a compression cycle, said compressor loading door means being located within said dwelling.

11. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 9 including connecting means mounted within said refuse storage housing for supporting said refuse supporting means therein.

12. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 9, including means for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within both of said housings at a freezing temperature for pre-chilling said refuse prior to compression and freezing said refuse into a solid pellet-shaped unit after compression thereof.

13. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 9 wherein said compressor mechanism includes compressor head means for movement between a retracted position and an extended position, said refuse disposing unit further including means for moving said compressor head means from said retracted position to said extended position for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said compressor head means back to its retracted position.

14. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 13 wherein said compressor housing includes outside loading door means and wherein said refuse disposing unit further includes an open-ended tubular container for containing refuse and means for disengageably mounting said container to and within said compressor housing whereby said compressor head means passes through said tubular container during the compression cycle for compressing and freezing said refuse therein.

15. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a unit housing for receiving refuse therein, said unit housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse within said housing; compressor mechanism means mounted within and to said housing, said compressor mechanism means including compressor head means for movement between a retracted position and an extended position; an open-ended tubular container for containing refuse, said container being disengageably mountable within and to said housing; means for disengageably mounting said container within and to said housing; means for moving said compressor head means from said retracted position through said open-ended tubular container and to said extended position for compressing refuse within said container and thereafter moving said compressor head means back to its said retracted position; and freezing means for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-shaped unit.

16. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a refuse housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse within said housing; a compressing and freezing chamber within said housing receiving refuse inserted through said door means, and having a plurality of walls of a character whereby refuse can be frozen thereto; compressor mechanism means mounted within and to said housing for compressing said refuse, said compressor mechanism means including a compressor mechanism housing and a plurality of concentric cylinders mounted within said compressor mechanism housing and to each other for telescopic movement between a retracted position within said compressor mechanism housing and an extended position out of said compressor mechanism housing, and into said compressing and freezing chamber, said compressor mechanism means further including compressor head means connected to the innermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders for compressing said refuse when said plurality of concentric cylinders are in said extended position; drive means for telescopically moving said cylinders from said retracted positions to said extended positions for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said cylinders back to said retracted position; and freezing means for lowering the temperature of at least some of said chamber walls below the freezing temperature of water for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-like unit, said pellet-like unit freezing to said chamber walls and resisting movement of further refuse being compressed.

17. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a refuse housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse within said housing; a compressing and freezing chamber within said housing receiving refuse inserted through said door means, and having a plurality of walls; compressor mechanism means mounted within and to said housing for compressing said refuse, said compressor mechanism means including a compressor mechanism housing and a plurality of concentric cylinders mounted within said compressor mechanism housing and to each other for telescopic movement between a retracted position within said compressor mechanism housing and an extended position out of said compressor mechanism housing, and into said compressing and freezing chamber, said compressor mechanism means further including compressor head means connected to the innermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders for compressing said refuse when said plurality of concentric cylinders are in said extended position; drive means for telescopically moving said cylinders from said retracted positions to said extended positions for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said cylinders back to said retracted position; and freezing means for lowering the temperature of at least some of said chamber walls below the freezing temperature of water for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-like unit, said driving means including means for imparting rotation to the outermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders and wherein the remaining cylinders are thread mounted to their respective adjacent outer cylinders and responsive to the rotation of said outermost cylinder for successive movement relative to their respective adjacent outer cylinder, the innermost cylinder being the last cylinder to move to its extended position.

18. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a refuse housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse within said housing; a compressing and freezing chamber within said housing receiving refuse inserted through said door means, and having a plurality of walls; compressor mechanism means mounted within and to said housing for compressing said refuse, said compressor mechanism means including a compressor mechanism housing and a plurality of concentric cylinders mounted within said compressor mechanism housing and to each other for telescopic movement between a retracted position within said compressor mechanism housing and an extended position out of said compressor mechanism housing, and into said compressing and freezing chamber, said compressor mechanism means further including compressor head means connected to the innermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders for compressing said refuse when said plurality of concentric cylinders are in said extended position; drive means for telescopically moving said cylinders from said retracted positions to said extended positions for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said cylinders back to said retracted position; and freezing means for lowering the temperature of at least some of said chamber walls below the freezing temperature of water for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-like unit and means for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within said refuse housing at a freezing temperature for pre-freezing said refuse prior to compression and freezing said refuse into a solid pellet-shaped unit after compression thereof.

19. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a unit housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse therein; a refuse storage and compression container positioned within said unit housing and tiltably mounted for movement between an upright position for receiving refuse inserted through said loading door means and a tilted position for compression of said refuse; compressor mechanism means mounted within said unit housing and cooperating with said refuse storage and compression container when said container is in its tilted position for compressing refuse therein; and freezing means for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-like unit.

20. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 19 including disposable refuse supporting means positioned within said refuse storage and compression container for receiving and supporting refuse inserted through said loading door means, said disposable supporting means being compressed and frozen along with said refuse therein.

21. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 19 including mounting means for biasing said refuse storage and compression container in said tilted position and locking means for maintaining said container in said upright position.

22. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 19 wherein said refuse storage and compression container and said compressor mechanism include cooperating engagement means for rigidly engaging each other when said container is in its tilted position, said engagement means confining the compression stress resulting from the compression of said refuse to said container.

23. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 19 wherein said compressor mechanism means includes a compressor mechanism housing and a plurality of concentric cylinders mounted within said compressor mechanism housing and to each other for telescopic movement between a retracted position within said compressor mechanism housing and an extended position out of said compressor housing, said compressor mechanism means further including compressor head means connected to the innermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders for compressing said refuse when said plurality of concentric cylinders are in said extended positions; and drive means for telescopically moving said cylinders from said retracted positions to said extended positions for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said cylinders back to said retracted position.

24. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 23 wherein said driving means includes means for imparting rotation to the outermost cylinder and wherein the remaining cylinders are thread mounted to their respective adjacent outer cylinders and responsive to the rotation of said outermost cylinder for successive movement relative to their adjacent outer cylinders, the innermost cylinder being the last to move to its respective extended position.

25. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 19 including means for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within said container at a freezing temperature for pre-chilling said refuse prior to compressing and freezing said refuse.

26. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a unit housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse therein; a refuse storage and compression container mounted within said unit housing and positioned for receiving refuse inserted through said loading door means; compressor mechanism means positioned within said housing and mounted for movement laterally of itself between a non-compressing position away from said container and a position adjacent said container for compressing the refuse inserted in said container, means for thereafter moving said compressor mechanism means longitudinally of itself to compress refuse in said container; and means for freezing said compressed refuse into a dense pellet-like unit.

27. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 including refuse supporting means positioned within said container for receiving and supporting refuse inserted through said loading door means.

28. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 wherein said container and compressor mechanism means include cooperating engagement means for rigidly engaging each other when said compressor mechanism means is in said compressing position, said engagement means confining the compression stress resulting from the compression of said refuse to said container.

29. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 wherein said compressor mechanism means includes a compressor mechanism housing and a plurality of concentric cylinders mounted within said compressor mechanism housing and to each other for telescopic movement between a retracted position within said compressor mechanism housing and an extended position out of said compressor housing, said compressor mechanism means further including compressor head means connected to the innermost cylinder of said plurality of cylinders for compressing said refuse when said plurality of concentric cylinders are in said extended positions; and drive means for telescopically moving said cylinders from said retracted position to said extended position for compressing said refuse and thereafter moving said cylinders back to said retracted position.

30. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 29 wherein said drive means includes means for imparting rotation to the outermost cylinder and wherein the remaining cylinders are thread-mounted to their respective adjacent outer cylinders and responsive to the rotation of said outermost cylinder for successive movement relative to their adjacent outer cylinders, the innermost cylinder being the last to move to its respective extended position.

31. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 including means for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within said unit housing at a freezing temperature for pre-chilling said refuse prior to compression and freezing said refuse into a solid pellet-shaped unit.

32. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 wherein said refuse storage and compression container includes trap door means at the bottom thereof for removal of said solid pellet-like unit.

33. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 32 including means for mechanically opening and closing said trap door means.

34. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 33 including transfer means cooperating with said trap door means for gravitationally directing said solid pellet-like unit out of and away from said container.

35. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 26 wherein said container is tilted at an angle with respect to said unit housing and wherein said compressor mechanism moves between said positions at said angle perpendicular with said container.

36. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 35 including refuse supporting means positioned within said container for receiving and supporting refuse inserted through said loading door means.

37. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 35 wherein said container and compressor mechanism means include cooperating engagement means for rigidly engaging each other when said compressor mechanism means is in said compressing position, said engagement means confining the compression stress resulting from the compression of said refuse to said container.

38. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a unit housing including loading door means for insertion of refuse therein; compressor mechanism means mounted within and to said housing; a refuse storage and compression container positioned within said unit housing and mounted for movement between a first position for receiving refuse inserted through said loading door means and a second position adjacent said compressor mechanism for compressing said refuse; and means for freezing said compressed refuse into a solid pellet-like unit.

39. A refuse disposing unit comprising: a longitudinal refuse compression and conveyance housing including a rearward end for receiving and compressing refuse and an open forward end for extruding said refuse out of said housing; compressor means positioned within said housing for compressing said refuse and extruding said refuse out of said open end; means for freezing the refuse within said housing; and means for inhibiting movement of the frozen refuse toward said open forward end whereby said frozen refuse serves as a back-up for further refuse during compressing thereof, said movement inhibiting means comprising inner side walls on said housing maintained below freezing temperature and refuse frozen thereto.

40. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 39 including friction means for providing resistance to the movement of refuse within said housing whereby said refuse is adequately compressed by said compressor means.

41. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 40 wherein said friction means includes a plurality of wedges mounted to the inside surface of said housing and extending towards the center thereof for providing said resistance.

42. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 40 wherein said friction means includes a plurality of slots positioned around the periphery of said housing and compression belt means positioned around said slots for reducing the over-all cross-sectional area of said housing.

43. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 39 wherein said compressor means includes means for producing a cavity through said compressed refuse.

44. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 39 wherein said compressor means includes a compressor head member positioned within said housing and movable through said housing for compressing and extruding said refuse.

45. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 44 wherein said compressor means further includes a piston and cylinder assembly having a piston portion fixed to and within said housing and a cylinder portion connected to said head member for moving said head member through said housing.

46. A refuse disposing unit according to claim 39 including deflection means mounted to said housing and positioned adjacent said open end for breaking off said compressed and frozen refuse as it is extruded out of said housing.

47. A method of disposing of refuse comprising the steps of: placing refuse in a longitudinal housing which has an open forward end; compressing said refuse; freezing said refuse; freezing said refuse to walls along the line of travel to restrict movement of refuse which has been frozen to serve as a back-up for compressing further refuse; and extruding said compressed and frozen refuse out of the open end of said housing.

48. A method according to claim 47 including the step of frictionally providing resistance to the movement of said refuse whereby said refuse is adequately compressed.

49. A method according to claim 47 including the step of producing a cavity through said compressed refuse during compression thereof.

50. A method according to claim 47 including the step of breaking away said compressed and frozen refuse as said refuse is extruded out of said housing.

51. A method according to claim 47 including the step of transferring said extruded refuse to frozen storage.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a device for disposing of garbage or refuse, and more particularly to a device which forms stored garbage or refuse into frozen pellet-like units.

Presently, when a housewife, etc., wants to dispose of refuse, she does so in a garbage can or container located on the premises. Because the garbage is exposed to the atmosphere, in not too long a period after being placed in the can it begins to decay and become rancid. As the garbage decays an offensive odor is given off thereby, and vermin tend to collect about the garbage accompanied by the breeding of bacteria and the possible spread of disease. Furthermore, the refuse or garbage gathered in these cans or containers is mostly commonly removed by trucks into which loose or partially wrapped garbage is placed. Usually these trucks have an offensive odor, and as they travel from pickup-to-pickup, sometimes they lose particles of garbage on the thoroughfares.

If the housewife is more fortunate, she may have a garbage disposer of the type which grinds the garbage into small finely cut pieces and which then flushes these pieces into the drain pipe. This type of garbage disposer also has its drawbacks, namely, the fact that the disposer will not accommodate stones, stringy meat particles, plastic, and the like, and it tends to be noisy in operation. It also tends to overwork sewage disposal or processing plants.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a general object of this invention to provide a method and apparatus for disposing of garbage and refuse which avoids the disadvantages of the prior art garbage disposing methods and apparatus mentioned above.

It is a more specific object of this invention to provide a refuse disposing unit to be used in a home, restaurant, etc., that receives practically all forms of garbage and refuse and renders it into a dense, stable and non-offensive condition.

It is still another object of this invention to provide a refuse disposing unit in which garbage and refuse may be stored without giving off an offensive odor or becoming rancid, and after which the refuse may be easily transported therefrom.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a refuse disposing unit which converts loose garbage and refuse into a compact, compressed, solid article which may be easily removed from the unit, the article being disposed of as land fill or through incineration.

It is still a further object of this invention to provide a refuse disposing unit which prechills garbage and refuse during collection thereof and thereafter converts the prechilled garbage and refuse into a compact, compressed, solid article, the solid article being mechanically removed from the unit.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a refuse disposing unit of the above-described type which is of sufficiently small dimensions so as to conveniently fit within the kitchen area of a home.

It is a more specific object of this invention to provide a mechanism for compressing the garbage and refuse of the above-described refuse disposing unit.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide novel means for removing compressed and frozen refuse from the above-described refuse disposing unit.

These and other objects and features of the invention will become more apparent from a reading of the following descriptions.

While there are a number of refuse disposing unit embodiments disclosed herein, the following is a general description encompassing all such embodiments disclosed herein. Briefly, each refuse disposing unit generally comprises a housing into which loose, nominally heterogeneous refuse is placed with a freezable solution, such as water, in the event such refuse does not already contain a sufficient moisture content to bind it together when frozen.

A compressor mechanism is provided either in the above-stated housing or a separate housing for compressing the loose refuse into a compact state. If separate housings are utilized, the refuse disposing unit provides means for bringing the refuse and compressor mechanism into cooperating relationship for compression thereof. Refrigeration means is provided within the housing or housings for prechilling the refuse prior to compaction as well as freezing the refuse into a solid pellet-like unit substantially simultaneously with or immediately after the refuse is compressed.

Once the refuse is compressed into a solid pellet-like unit, the refuse disposing unit provides either manual, mechanical or gravitational means for removing the compressed frozen refuse from the disposing unit. Means are also provided with various embodiments described herein for aiding in the removal of the compact frozen refuse from the refuse disposing unit, which refuse quite often freezes to the housing during the compressing and freezing operation. Additional heating means is provided for periodically defrosting the sidewalls of the refuse disposing unit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the invention and its organization and construction may be had by referring to the description below in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the refuse disposing unit according to the invention, the refuse disposing unit being shown in the kitchen area of a home adjacent other kitchen appliances;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 1 taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of one aspect of the refuse disposing unit embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 1 taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 1, specifically showing the compression housing used in conjunction therewith;

FIG. 5 is a broken cross-sectional view of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 1 taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 1 including a modified base plate within the compression housing for automatically ejecting refuse which has been compressed and frozen therein;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the refuse disposing unit herein disclosed, the refuse disposing unit being shown in the kitchen area of a home adjacent other appliances;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the compression housing utilized with the embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a yard clipping container which is to be used with the compression housing of FIG. 7 for compressing and freezing yard clippings such as leaves, cut grass, or the like, into solid pellet-like units;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the refuse disposing unit disclosed herein, the refuse disposing unit being shown in the kitchen area of a home adjacent other kitchen appliances;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 9 taken along line 10--10 of FIG. 9, and specifically displaying a refuse storage container provided by the unit, the container being shown in an upright position for receiving refuse therein;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 9 taken along line 10--10 of FIG. 9, the refuse storage container being shown in a tilted position for compressing refuse inserted therein;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the compressor mechanism housing provided in the embodiment of FIG. 9;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view of a portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 9 taken along line 13--13 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view of a portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 9 taken along line 14--14 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of a novel compressor mechanism to be utilized with various embodiments of the refuse disposing unit herein disclosed;

FIG. 16 is a top sectional view of the compressor mechanism of FIG. 15 taken along line 16--16 of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a side cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the refuse disposing unit including the compressor mechanism of FIGS. 15 and 16;

FIG. 18 is a broken cross-sectional view of a variation in the embodiment of FIG. 17, the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 18 including a mechanically actuated trap door for automatically releasing compressed and frozen refuse from the refuse disposing unit;

FIG. 19 is a sectional view of a portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 18 taken along line 19--19 of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional view of another variation in the embodiment of FIG. 17 utilizing the automatic releasing mechanism of FIG. 18;

FIG. 21 is a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment of a refuse disposing unit which freezes the refuse immediately after rather than substantially simultaneously with compression thereof;

FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view of a still further embodiment of the refuse disposing unit and includes the "creeping pellet concept" to be described herein;

FIG. 22a is a sectional view of a portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 22 taken along lines 22a--22a of FIG. 22;

FIG. 22b is a perspective view of a modified portion of the refuse disposing unit of FIG. 22;

FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the refuse disposing unit utilizing the "creeping pellet concept" as well as the "doughnut concept" to be described herein; and

FIG. 24 is a cross-sectional view of a variation in the embodiment of FIG. 23.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings more in detail, wherein like numerals designate like elements throughout the various figures, FIGS. 1 to 4 disclose a refuse disposing unit 10 according to one embodiment of the invention. The unit 10 comprises a substantially rectangular refuse storage housing 12 for receiving therein, refuse and garbage of practically any kind, including food wastes, tin cans, metal bottle tops, paper boxes, glass, plastic, small metal objects, and the like. A vertically extending compression housing 14 for compressing and freezing the above-described refuse is positioned adjacent the refuse storage housing so as to share a side portion thereof. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the opposite side of refuse storage housing 12 is positioned adjacent and level with a kitchen sink area 16.

As refuse is accumulated at the sink are, it is inserted into the refuse storage housing 12 where it is stored, awaiting further process. During this storage period, the refuse is pre-chilled by means to be described hereinafter. This pre-chilling operation is of great significance for it not long enhances sanitation and prevents odors, but also provides for more rapid compaction of the refuse, since the latter is already part frozen. It is to be understood, that unless otherwise indicated, each refuse disposing unit embodiment or variation herein disclosed includes such a pre-chilling operation including means to achieve this.

After a desired amount of refuse has been accumulated and stored within the refuse storage housing 12, the refuse is moved to the compressor housing 14 in a manner to be described hereinafter where the refuse is compressed into a compact state by a compressor mechanism located therein and substantially simultaneously therewith frozen into a solid pellet-like unit as will be described hereinafter.

A control panel 18, which houses control devices required for operating the refuse disposing unit 10 is shown in FIG. 1, mounted to the compressor housing 14. It is to be understood that the control panel may be mounted in any convenient location, either adjacent to or remotely from the refuse disposing unit 10. The control devices which will not be described herein, are conventional and appropriately chosen for achieving the operational results of the refuse disposing unit as will be described hereinafter. Unless otherwise indicated, each refuse disposing unit embodiment or variation disclosed herein includes a like panel and associated control devices for conventionally controlling its operation in a manner to be described therewith.

The refuse storage housing 12 includes a side portion which is adjacent to the kitchen sink area 16, a bottom or base portion and a back portion, none of which are numerically designated. A side portion, opposite to that of the kitchen sink area, may or may not be provided as will be seen hereinafter. The refuse storage housing further includes a front side 20 which is flush with the front side of the kitchen sink area and a top side 22 which is flush with the counter area of the kitchen sink and may be used as additional counter space. The top side is hinge mounted to the remainder of the housing by a plurality of hinges 24 so that it may be pivotably opened for entry into a refuse storage compartment 26 defined by the housing 12 as seen in FIG. 2. The top side 22 includes a loading door 28 which is hinge mounted thereto for insertion of refuse within the refuse storage compartment 26.

Turning specifically to FIGS. 2 and 3, a disposable garbage bag 30 is mounted within the refuse storage compartment 26 and initially positioned directly below the loading door 28 for receiving refuse which is inserted through the loading door. Two laterally spaced and longitudinally extending conventional conveyance tracks 32 are mounted to the inside surface of top side 22 at extreme ends thereof and extend into the compressor housing as will be seen hereinafter.

In accordance with an important feature of the present invention, a conveyance vehicle or mechanism 34 for holding the bag 30 is cooperatively mounted to the tracks 32 for movement between a position directly below the loading door 28 and a position within the compression housing 14. The conveyance vehicle or mechanism comprises two angularly extending arm portions 36 which are rigidly connected together by a connecting member 38. The connecting member as shown in FIG. 3, is semi-square in shape so as to achieve a specific result which will be described hereinafter. It is to be understood, however, that any shaped member may be utilized if it achieves the below described result. Each arm portion 36 includes on one end thereof conventional ball-bearing or roller means 37 cooperating with a respective conveyance track 32 for allowing the conveyance vehicle or mechanism to freely move along the tracks. A pair of arm members 39 are pivotably connected at respective ends to the connecting member 38. On the otherwise free end of each arm member is a garbage bag connector 40, such as a conventional alligator clip, for connecting disposable garbage bag 30 to the conveyance vehicle.

Returning to FIG. 1 in combination with FIG. 4, the compressor housing 14, which as stated above is a vertically extending or upright housing, comprises a front and back panel or portion 42 and 44 respectively, two side portions or panels 46 and 48 respectively, a closed top panel 50 and a closed base or bottom panel 52, all of which define a compressor compartment 54. The side panel 48 preferably extends down only as far as the top side 22 of refuse storage housing 12 so that a common opening 53 exists between the refuse storage compartment 26 and the compressor compartment 54 for allowing the bag 30 to be transported between compartments.

A compressor mechanism 56 is mounted within and to the top of the compressor compartment 54 for compressing refuse into a compact state as will be described hereinafter. The front panel 42 includes, at the bottom thereof, a conventionally hinge mounted unloading door 58 for removing the refuse after it has been compressed and frozen. The compressor compartment 54 and refuse storage compartment 26 are substantially entirely lined with a suitable insulating material 57 for reasons which will become apparent hereinafter.

A horizontal base plate 60, having its periphery slidably adjacent to the inner walls of compartment 54, is spring mounted to the base or bottom panel 52 by a plurality of vertically extending spring members 62. The base plate 60, is movable between a biased or normally extended position as indicated by solid lines in FIG. 4, and a compressed retracted position as indicated by dotted lines. As will be seen hereinafter, the base plate 60 ultimately receives thereon refuse which has been accumulated within refuse storage compartment 26 for compression thereof.

The compressor mechanism 56 which is mounted to the top panel 50 and within compartment 54, comprises a telescoping, hydraulically pneumatically or electrically actuated, cylinder unit including a compressor head member 64 which is movable between a retracted position at the top of the compartment, as indicated by solid lines in FIG. 4, and an extended position at the bottom of the compartment as indicated by dotted lines. As will become apparent hereinafter, when the compressor head member 64 is in its extended position, it compresses refuse which has been moved into the compressor compartment, the refuse substantially simultaneously therewith being frozen into a solid pellet-like unit. It is to be noted, that as the compressor head member 64 compresses the refuse, it forces the base plate 60 into its retracted position as described above. The base plate is thereafter moved to its biased or normal extended position by the independent force of spring members 62, when the head member 64 is moved away therefrom.

As seen in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the conveyance tracks 32 extend from within refuse storage compartment 26, through the common opening 53, between the refuse storage compartment and the compressor compartment and into the compressor compartment. The tracks are mounted to the inside surfaces of front panel 42 and back panel 44 within cooperating channels 63 and are flush with the panel so as not to interfere with movement of compressor head member 64.

Turning to the operation of refuse disposing unit 10, it is firstly to be understood, as stated above, that the control panel 18 includes the required control devices which control the operation of the unit. Since these control devices do not form a part of the invention herein claimed, a detailed description thereof will not be necessary. It is sufficient to say that the controls, whether they be electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic, are of a conventional type which will automatically operate the assembly as described hereinafter and which are appropriately connected to the various described elements toward that end.

Initially, the top side 22 of the refuse storage housing 12 is pivotably opened so that a disposable garbage bag 30 can be connected to the conveyance vehicle or mechanism 34 in the manner described above, the conveyance vehicle or mechanism being positioned directly below the loading door 28. The top side 22 is thereafter closed and refuse may be periodically inserted with or without water, through the loading door and into the disposable garbage bag.

The refuse storage compartment 26 and the compressor compartment 54 are preferably continuously maintained at a temperature substantially below freezing for pre-chilling the refuse prior to compaction thereof. This is accomplished by a plurality of conventional freezer coils 65 which are positioned around the sides and back of the lower half of compartment 54 within insulating material 57, the cold air entering the refuse storage compartment through opening 53, between the two compartments. It is to be understood that any type of freezing means may be provided and mounted at any convenient location as long as such means achieve the above described results. After a desired amount of refuse has been placed within the disposable garbage bag, the conveyance vehicle mechanism 34 along with the disposable garbage bag and refuse therein are moved to a position within compressor compartment 54 so that the disposable garbage bag is located directly beneath the compressor head member 64. It is to be noted that while the disposable garbage bag is so positioned, the conveyance vehicle or mechanism 34, which is constructed in the manner described above, does not interfere with the compressor head 64 as it is driven to its extended position, the arm members 39 being pivoted out of the way by the force of the head member.

The manner in which the conveyance vehicle or mechanism is moved between the two compartments may take on various forms. For example, it may be moved therebetween by mere manual force or by, for example, a conventional electric, pneumatic or hydraulic piston and cylinder assembly 69 which can be appropriately mounted within compartment 26 and connected thereto.

Once the disposable garbage bag 30 and refuse therein is positioned below the compressor head 64, an actuating button 66, which may be conveniently located on the refuse storage housing, is pressed for energizing the compressor mechanism for driving the compressor head member 64 from its retracted position to its extended position. As the compressor head member moves toward its extended position it disengages the disposable garbage bag from conveyance vehicle 34, the disposable garbage bag falling to the base plate 60 within the compressor compartment. The compressor head member thereafter continues to move downward toward its extended position for compressing the disposable garbage bag and refuse located therein. The compressor head member is automatically maintained in its extended position for a short period of time, which enables the compressed refuse to be frozen into a dense pellet-like unit and is thereafter automatically moved back to its retracted position. An indicating light (not shown) may be provided for visually indicating this cycle.

It is to be noted that as the refuse is compressed and frozen, it is simultaneously therewith frozen to the inner panels of the compartment 54. As stated above, the base plate 60 is driven to its retracted position by the compressor head member 64 when the compressor head member is in its extended or compressed position. The base plate 60 is forced into this retracted or compressed position as long as the compressor head member 64 is maintained in its extended position. When the compressor head member 64 is moved away from the compressed frozen refuse, the base plate is moved back to its normal or biased extended position by the independent force of spring members 62. This in turn creates a shearing force between the inner panels and the compressed frozen refuse and thereby breaks the latter away from the inner panels. In addition, since the compressed and frozen refuse also freezes to the base plate 60, heating coils (not shown) may be provided adjacent the base plate for rectifying this problem.

In addition to the above described heating coils, an independent plurality of heating coils 71 are mounted within the insulating material 57 adjacent the freezing coils for periodically defrosting both compartments 26 and 56. It is to be noted that unless other use is indicated, such heating coils are provided with each refuse disposing unit embodiment herein disclosed for achieving the same end.

An appropriate control device may be provided for automatically moving the conveyance vehicle or mechanism 34 back to its initial position below the loading door 28 after the above described compression cycle has been completed. This, of course, is assuming that the conveyance vehicle is mechanically operated. The refuse disposing unit 10, and all other refuse disposing units to be described hereinafter, include conventional interlocking means for deenergizing or stopping the compressor mechanism if either loading door 28 or unloading door 58 (or any other loading or unloading door) is opened during the compression cycle, this being provided for safety reasons.

The above procedure may be repeated many times, forming a built-up or composite pellet or block before it becomes necessary to remove the refuse from compartment 54. Once the pellet formed therein has reached the desired size it may be disposed of through a door 68 mounted on a convenient outside wall within the kitchen area, the door leading to a freezer storage housing or the like (not shown) outside the home.

It is to be understood, that while the above described embodiment of the refuse disposing unit 10 is shown to include conveyance tracks 32 and a conveyance vehicle or mechanism 34 for either manually or automatically but in either case mechanically moving the disposable garbage bag 30 and refuse therein from compartment 26 to compartment 54, such devices can be readily eliminated. That is, the disposable garbage bag 30 may be positioned directly below the loading door 28 and mounted thereat by a plurality of connecting devices 40 which are permanently held in position. In this case, after a desired amount of refuse has been inserted into the garbage bag, the garbage bag is taken out of the refuse storage compartment either by opening the top side 22 thereof or by an additional door. The garbage bag is then positioned on base plate 60 within compressor compartment 54 through the unloading door 58.

Turning to FIG. 5, a cross-sectional view of a modified compressor housing 14a is shown. Since compressor housing 14a is similar, in many respects, to compressor housing 14, like numerals have been used to designate like parts, the suffix letter "a" being utilized to distinguish those parts used in housing 14a. Like the compressor housing 14 and associated components described above, the compressor housing 14a defines a compartment 54a in which a compressor mechanism 56a and compressor head member 64a are mounted. However, a modified base plate 76 is provided at the bottom of the compartment and is utilized in a manner to be described hereinafter for automatically ejecting refuse which has been compressed and frozen thereon, through a cooperating trap door 78 conventionally hinge mounted to and located on one side of the housing.

The base plate 76 comprises two flat portions 80 and 82 which are pivotably hinged together by conventional hinge means 84 for pivotable movement with respect to each other. The flat portions 80 and 82 are of sufficient dimensions so as to have their periphery slidably adjacent to the plurality of inner panels of compartment 54a when the base 76 is in a compressed state as will be described hereinafter. The side flat portion 82 is also pivotably mounted to the bottom of the compartment by an appropriate pivoting mechanism 86 and spring mounted thereto by a plurality of spring members 88. As can be seen in FIG. 5, the spring members 88 spring bias flat portion 82 at a predetermined incline with the bottom of compartment 74. The flat portion 80 is also spring mounted to the bottom of the compartment by a plurality of spring members 90 which are of greater length than spring members 88 so as to bias flat portion 80 at a slightly greater incline than that of flat portion 82. The base plate 76 like base plate 60 is movable between a biased or normal extended position as indicated by solid lines in FIG. 5, and a compressed or retracted position as indicated by dotted lines.

As the compressor head member 64a compresses refuse within compartment 54a, it simultaneously forces the base plate 76 to its retracted position as described above. The base plate is moved to its biased or normal extended position by the independent force of spring members 88 and 90 when the head member is moved away therefrom. Since the over-all top surface of base plate 76 is irregular, due to the difference in incline between the two flat portions 80 and 82, refuse which has been compressed and frozen thereon is caused to be released therefrom. Since the base plate is on a substantial incline, the loosened compressed and frozen refuse, due to its own gravitational force, falls through trap door 78 and into a provided storage area (not shown).

Turning to FIGS. 6 and 7, a second embodiment 92 of a refuse disposing unit is shown and includes a refuse storage housing 94 which is substantially identical to the refuse storage housing 12 described above. That is, the refuse storage housing 94 includes an identical top side 96 which is hinge mounted to the remainder of the housing in the same manner as described above, a loading door 98 and a disposable garbage bag 100 positioned within the housing and connectable directly below the loading door for receiving refuse inserted through the loading door. It is to be noted, that this embodiment does not include conveyance tracks or a conveyance vehicle as provided in embodiment 10, but rather utilizes only garbage bag connectors 40 for holding the garbage bag. It is to be further noted that the refuse and storage housing is substantially completely enclosed and preferably includes its own freezing coils 65 for continuously maintaining the temperature therein below the freezing temperature.

The refuse disposing unit 92 further includes a compressor housing 102, a compressor mechanism 104, including a head member 105, mounted within and on the top of the housing 102, a base plate 106 which is spring mounted within and to the bottom of the housing by a plurality of spring members 108, and freezing and heating coils 107 and 111 mounted within insulating material 113 surrounding the housing. All of these components are substantially identical to corresponding components of compressor housing 14 and function in the same manner. However, unlike compressor housing 14, the compressor housing 102 is positioned outside the dwelling and conventionally mounted to an outside wall 109 as seen in FIG. 7.

The compressor housing 102 includes a first or inner loading door 110 which can be opened from within the kitchen area for inserting refuse into the compressor housing 102. In addition to inner loading door 110, compressor housing 102 includes an unloading door 112 positioned outside the dwelling and may include a second or outer loading door 114 for reasons described hereinafter.

The operation of refuse disposing unit 92 is substantially the same as that of refuse disposing unit 10. That is, a disposable garbage bag 100 is appropriately connected within refuse storage housing 94 by connecting devices 40, as described above, for receiving refuse which is inserted through loading door 98. After a desired amount of refuse has been accumulated within the bag, the entire bag is removed from housing 94 and inserted through the inner loading door 110 where the bag falls to the base plate 106 within compressor housing 102. An appropriate pushbutton (not shown) is thereafter actuated and through an appropriate control panel 115 and associated control devices (not shown) energizes the compressor mechanism 104 for compressing disposable garbage bag 100 and the refuse therein. Like refuse disposing unit 10, unit 92 includes appropriate freezing coils for both pre-chilling the refuse as it is stored and freezing the refuse substantially simultaneously with compression thereof so as to form a solid or dense pellet-like unit. In the embodiment under discussion, these freezing coils may be provided in both the refuse storage housing 94 and the compressor housing 102 as described above, or they may merely be provided within one of the housings in which case appropriate means for directing the cold air from that housing to the other housing would be provided.

Turning to FIG. 8, there is shown an open ended tubular container 116 for containing yard clippings such as leaves, cut grass or the like, the container being made of rust resistant lightweight stainless steel or the like. As seen in FIG. 8, the container 116 is rectangular in cross-section and includes four peripherally spaced connectors 118 for reasons to be described hereinafter. The container is sized so as to fit through the second or outer loading door 114 of compressor housing 102 and thereafter fit snugly within and around the periphery of the housing. The housing 102 includes therein a plurality of hook means 117 which cooperate with the connecting means 118 for rigidly and fixedly holding the container with and to the housing 102.

In operation, yard clippings such as leaves are placed within the container 116 and manually compressed therein. This manual compression will in turn prevent the yard clippings from falling out the bottom thereof upon lifting the container off the ground. The container along with the yard clippings are placed within compressor housing 102 and rigidly connected thereto in the manner described above. The compressor mechanism 104 may thereafter be energized so that compressor head member 105 is moved from its retracted position to its extended position. As stated above, the container 116 fits snugly within the housing 102 so that compressor head member 105 passes therethrough during compression operation or compressing the yard clippings.

In the event either heavier or more solid items are placed within the container 116, a removable bottom plate member (not shown) may be provided at the bottom opened end of the container for supporting the items placed therein, the plate member being removed when the container is inserted into housing 102.

It is to be understood, that the shape of container 116 is substantially dependent upon the shape of housing 102 and accordingly may take on various other forms.

Turning to FIGS. 9 through 14, another embodiment 120 of a refuse disposing unit is shown and differs from the previously described embodiments in that both refuse storage and refuse compression are performed within a single housing 122, which housing, as seen in FIG. 9 may be positioned in the kitchen area of a home adjacent, for example, the sink area 123.

The housing 122 comprises two side panels (not numerically designated), a bottom or base (not numerically designated), a back panel 124, a front panel 126 and a counter or top panel 128, all of which define a unitary compartment 130 as seen in FIGS. 10 and 11. The top panel or counter panel, as seen in FIG. 9 is flush with the counter panel or counter space of sink 123 and includes a loading door 132 which is appropriately hinge mounted to the counter top 128 for opening thereof and inserting refuse into unitary compartment 130. A second door 134 is provided on front panel 126 for reasons to be described hereinafter.

The refuse disposing unit 120 further includes a control panel 136 which may be mounted in any convenient location. The control panel includes therein the appropriate conventional control devices (not shown) for operating the refuse disposing unit in a manner to be described hereinafter.

Turning specifically to FIGS. 10 and 11, the unitary compartment 130 includes therein a refuse receiving and compressing chamber or housing 138 which is tiltably mounted, in a manner to be described hereinafter, for movement between an upright position as seen in FIG. 10 and a tilted or inclined position as seen in FIG. 11. As will be described in more detail hereinafter, when the refuse receiving and compressing chamber is upright, it is positioned for receiving refuse inserted through loading door 132 and when it is tilted or inclined, it is positioned for having the refuse therein compressed into dense pellet-like units as will be described hereinafter. The refuse disposing unit further includes a unique compressor mechanism 140 appropriately mounted within compartment 130 for compressing the refuse within the refuse receiving and compressing chamber when the chamber is in its tilted or inclined position.

The refuse chamber 138 comprises a generally rectangular box having an open top end, two side panels (not numerically designated), a front side 142, a bottom end or base 144, and a back side 146, the back side being partially cut away at the top thereof as generally designated by the numeral 148. A spring biased base plate 150 is provided at the bottom and within chamber 138 and is identical in structure and function to previously described base plates 60 and 106.

A disposable garbage bag 152 is included within the chamber 138 for receiving refuse therein when the chamber is in its upright position. The garbage bag is placed within the chamber through loading door 132 and mounted thereto by connecting devices 40 (not shown), the disposable garbage bag being compressed along with the refuse therein during compression operation.

The refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 is tiltably mounted to the bottom of unitary compartment 130 by a fulcrum mechanism 154 which can be best seen in FIG. 14. The fulcrum mechanism comprises two laterally spaced and vertically extending plate members or fulcrums 160, each of which includes an integrally connected and cylindrically shaped top or fulcrum portion 162 (FIGS. 10 and 11). A fulcrum riding member or base plate 164 is integrally mounted to the bottom and outside surface of the chamber 138 and, as seen best in FIG. 14, includes two downwardly extending fulcrum cooperating members 166, which are laterally spaced for pivotal engagement with respective fulcrums 160. Each fulcrum cooperating member includes a downwardly facing semicylindrical cavity which is of a sufficient dimension for snugly, but slidably, receiving a respective cylindrical fulcrum portion 162 as can best be seen in FIGS. 10 and 11. Two laterally spaced and upwardly extending plate members 170 are mounted to the inner sides of respective fulcrums 160 and extend slightly above respective fulcrum portions 162 for prohibiting lateral movement of the refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138.

Returning to FIGS. 10 and 11, it can be seen that mechanism 154 and fulcrum riding member or base plate 164 are positioned slightly forwardly with respect to the center of refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138. This allows the chamber to be biased in its tilted position, that is, when the chamber is free to move, it will by its own gravitational force, move to its tilted position. Therefore, a conventional locking mechanism 170 is provided for holding the chamber in its upright position. A conventional switch type device 172 is mounted on the counter or top panel 128 and is used for releasing the chamber for tiltable movement.

Turning to FIGS. 12 and 13, the compressor mechanism 140 is shown rigidly mounted by conventional means (not shown) to a triangular mounting bracket 174 which in turn is mounted to the rearward end of top panel 128 within the unitary compartment 130. This, as can be seen in FIGS. 10 and 11, allows the compressor mechanism 140 to be positioned at the same angle as refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 when the latter is in its tilted position.

The compressor mechanism 140 includes a substantially rectangular compressor housing 176, housing therein a telescopically movable compressing portion to be described hereinafter and a compressor head member 178 connected thereto. The compressor portion and compressor head member 178 are telescopically movable between a retracted position within housing 176 and an extended position for compression of refuse within chamber 138.

Two laterally spaced and parallel T-shaped grooves or cavities 180 extend transversely through the compressor housing 176 on opposite sides of the compressing portion and compressor head member 178 for engagement with the refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 in the matter to be described hereinafter. In addition, the compressor housing 176 includes an outwardly extending abutting portion 182 which extends across the front of the housing and between the T-shaped grooves or cavities 180 for further engagement with chamber 138.

Turning specifically to FIG. 13, a partial sectional view of the refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 is shown. As can be seen in this figure, each side panel of the chamber includes at its top end thereof a transversely extending T-shaped portion 184 which is sufficient in dimension so as to snugly, but slidably, fit within a respective T-shaped groove or cavity 180. In addition, the front side or panel 142 includes a transversely and outwardly extending abutting portion 186 at the top end thereof for engaging the top surface of abutting portion 182 when the compressor mechanism 140 and chamber 138 are in engagement.

As chamber 138 is moved from its upright position to its tilted position, the bottom portion of compressor mechanism 140 passes through the opening 148 and into the chamber. Simultaneously therewith, the T-shaped portions 184 of the chamber enter respective T-shaped grooves or cavities 180 until the abutting portion 186 of chamber 138 engages the compressor housing 176 directly above its abutting portion 182. This can best be seen in FIG. 11.

With the compressor mechanism 140 and refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 engaged in the manner described above, it can be seen that substantially all the stress resulting from compression of refuse within the chamber is applied solely to the chamber itself and to the housing 176 of the compressor mechanism. Therefore, the only stress applied to either the fulcrum mechanism 154 or the counter top 128 of housing 122 results from the dead weight of chamber 138 and compressor mechanism 140 respectively. Therefore, neither the fulcrum mechanism 154 nor the counter top 128 need to be designed for any great stress.

While FIGS. 12 and 13 show basically a T-shaped engagement configuration, it is to be understood, that any type of engagement configuration which will confine the stress due to compression, solely to the chamber 138 and compressor housing 176, will suffice.

Turning to the operation of refuse disposing unit 120, the disposable garbage bag 152 is placed vertically within refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 and connected thereto. Refuse which is accumulated within the household is thereafter inserted into the disposable garbage bag 152 through the loading door 132 until the garbage bag is substantially filled. The switch 172 is then actuated for allowing the chamber 138 to move from its upright position to its tilted or inclined position, during which time it will engage the compressor mechanism 140 in the manner described above. A compression mechanism actuator button 188 which is conveniently mounted near the refuse disposing unit is then pressed causing the compressor mechanism to energize. This in turn causes the compressor head member 178 to move from its retracted position to its extended position for compressing the disposable garbage bag 152 and refuse therein as seen in FIG. 11, and after a predetermined period of time automatically move back to its retracted position.

The refuse disposing unit includes conventional freezing coils 153 for substantially continuously maintaining the environment within compartment 130 at a temperature substantially below freezing. This not only pre-chills the refuse prior to compression in the same manner as described with regard to the previous embodiments, but also freezes the refuse into a solid pellet-like unit during compression.

After the compression cycle is terminated, the chamber 138 may be manually moved back to its upright position by reaching into unitary compartment 130 either through the loading door 132 or door 134, at which time the compressed and frozen refuse may be removed from within chamber 138.

In order to prevent the compressor mechanism from energizing when not engaged with the chamber 138, conventional interlocking means (not shown) are provided. These interlocking means also de-energize the compressor mechanism during compression cycle in the event either loading door 132 or door 134 is opened during the compression cycle.

While it is preferable to completely enclose the bottom of the refuse receiving and compressing chamber so that any liquid therein will freeze and remain removable with the compressed and frozen refuse, the bottom thereof including base plate 150 may have holes or apertures (not shown) therethrough for drainage of excess water or other liquid. If this latter variation is provided, provision must be made for receiving this drained liquid or water. This may be done by utilizing a removable tray 190 which is positioned directly below the chamber 138 and between the fulcrum mechanisms 154 as seen in FIGS. 10 and 11. In addition, the entire refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138 may be lifted up and out of compartment 130 through the door 134 for cleaning both the chamber and the inside of compartment 130. The compartment 130 and chamber 138 may include a plurality of heating coils in the same manner as in the previously described embodiments, for periodically defrosting the compartment and chamber.

Turning to FIGS. 15 and 16, the compressor mechanism 140 is shown in detailed cross-section and includes previously mentioned compressor housing 176 and compressor head member 178. In addition, the compressor mechanism includes a compressing portion 192 for telescopically moving the compressor head member 178 between a retracted position within compressor housing 176 as indicated by solid lines in FIG. 15 and an extended position as indicated by dotted lines.

The compressing portion 192 comprises a plurality of concentric cylinders 194, 196, 198 and 200 which are thread mounted together for movement in a manner to be described hereinafter. The outermost cylinder 194 is rotatably supported within housing 176 by an inwardly extending cylindrical supporting member 199, which supporting member is an integral part of the compressor housing and which prevents outermost cylinder 194 from lateral or downward movement. Ball bearings or other like friction decreasing means (not shown) may be provided between the cylinder 194 and supporting member for allowing free rotation of the cylinder.

The cylinder 194 is appropriately threaded on its external surface thereof for engagement or cooperation with a driving mechanism, to be described hereinafter, which driving mechanism is provided for rotating the cylinder around its longitudinal axis. Additionally, outermost cylinder 194 is appropriately internally threaded for cooperation and engagement with an externally threaded surface of cylinder 196 which is also internally threaded for engagement and cooperation with externally and internally threaded cylinder 198.

The innermost cylinder 200, which is externally threaded for cooperation and engagement with the internal surface of cylinder 198, is rotatably mounted around and within a groove 203 which extends around an upwardly extending arm member 201 which is an integral part of the head member 178.

Operationally, a driving mechanism 204 (FIG. 16) including a conventional pneumatically, hydraulically, or electrically powered motor 206 is provided for driving a plurality of reducing gears 208. The reducing gears are appropriately connected to the externally threaded surface of outermost cylinder 194 for rotating cylinder 194 around its longitudinal axis. As cylinder 194 rotates, cylinder 196, because of its threaded connection to cylinder 194, is driven down the internally threaded surface of cylinder 194 as indicated by arrows 210 in FIG. 15. The cylinder 196 will continue its movement downward until it engages an inwardly extending abutting surface 212 of outermost cylinder 194. It is to be noted, that as cylinder 196 moves downwards it takes cylinder 198, cylinder 200 and compressor head member 178 with it.

Upon reaching the abutment 212, the cylinder 196 ceases from moving further downward, but continues to rotate along with outermost cylinder 194 which in turn causes the cylinder 198 to move downward as indicated by arrows 214. The cylinder 198 continues to move downward until its upper and outwardly extending abutment surface 216 engages the top surface of cylinder 196 which is now positioned adjacent abutment 212. Like cylinder 196, cylinder 198 carries therewith innermost cylinder 200 and compressor head member 178.

Once the abutment surface 216 of cylinder 198 reaches the top surface of cylinder 196, further downward movement thereof ceases. However, rotational movement continues for driving innermost cylinder 200 downward along cylinder 198's internally threaded surface as indicated by arrows 218. This in turn causes compressor head member 178 to move to its most extended position as seen by dotted lines in FIG. 15 for compressing refuse within refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138. Downward movement ceases when the bottom surface of innermost cylinder 200 engages a lower abutment surface 220 of cylinder 198.

An appropriate control device (not shown) is provided for reversing motor 206, after a predetermined period of time, so that the compressor head member 178 may be returned to its retracted position. Appropriate conventional means such as gasket seals (not shown) may be provided for preventing refuse or other foreign material from entering between the concentric cylinders.

While FIGS. 15 and 16 disclose a compressor mechanism which is mechanically responsive for moving its compressor head member between a retracted and an extended position, it is to be understood that the same type of telescopic movement may be achieved by either pneumatic or hydraulic responsive means.

It is to be noted, that the main advantage of the above-described design of compressor mechanism 140 resides in the compressor mechanism's overall length when the compressor head member is in its extended position which is only approximately 20 inches. Therefore, the refuse disposing unit 120, as previously described, can be sufficiently compact or small so as to be easily mounted or positioned within the kitchen area of a home.

Turning to FIG. 17, there is shown a variation 222 of the refuse disposing unit 120 which was previously described with respect to FIGS. 9 through 14. Because many features of the refuse disposing unit 120 and 222 are identical, like components or features will be designated by like numerals, with the suffix letter "a" designating like components of unit 222. Only those identical features which are necessary in describing the variations in refuse disposing unit 222 will be described in any depth.

Like refuse disposing unit 120, the refuse disposing unit 222 includes a housing 122a defining a unitary compartment 130a which is appropriately maintained at a temperature substantially below freezing, a refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138a supporting therein a disposable garbage bag 152a, loading door 132a for placing refuse within disposable garbage bag 152a, and a compressor mechanism 140a for compressing the disposable garbage bag and refuse placed within chamber 138a.

Unlike the refuse disposing unit 120, refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138a of refuse disposing unit 222 is permanently mounted in its upright position as seen in FIG. 17, directly below loading door 132a. Therefore, the fulcrum mechanism 154 and fulcrum riding member 164, which were described with respect to refuse disposing unit 120, are not necessary in this embodiment, the chamber 138a being directly supported by the bottom of housing 122a.

The refuse disposing unit 222 further includes a pair of longitudinally extending tracks 224 (only one of which is shown) which are conventionally mounted to the top of and within compartment 130 and laterally spaced on opposite sides of refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138a. The compressor mechanism 140a is mounted to tracks 224 for movement between a rearward position as seen by solid lines in FIG. 17 and a forward position as seen by dotted lines. A piston and cylinder unit 225 may be appropriately connected to the compression mechanism and rearward side of the housing 122a for mechanically moving the compressor mechanism 140 along tracks 224. The piston and cylinder unit, however, is not essential and the compressor mechanism may be manually moved between its rearward and forward positions.

As the compressor mechanism is moved towards its forward position, it engages the chamber 138a in the same manner as described with respect to FIGS. 12 and 13 so as to confine the stress resulting from compression to the chamber 138a and compressor housing 176a. With the compressor mechanism so positioned, the compression cycle commences in the same manner as described with respect to refuse disposing unit 120, interlocking means (not shown) being provided for allowing the compression cycle to commence and continue only when the compression mechanism is in its forward position and all doors are closed.

It is to be noted, that the unitary compartment 130a of refuse disposing unit 222 includes a large vacant area therein. This area may be appropriately confined by a plurality of high thermally conductive wall portions for defining an additional freezer compartment which may be used for housing frozen foods or the like.

It is also to be noted that in both embodiments 120 and 222, driving mechanisms 204 for driving compressor mechanism 140 and 140a are appropriately located for producing the above described results.

Turning to FIG. 18, a variation 226 of refuse disposing unit 222 is shown. The refuse disposing unit 226 is identical to that of refuse disposing unit 222 except for the manner in which the compressed and frozen refuse is removed from therein. Therefore like components will be designated by like numerals.

In this embodiment or variation, the refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138a includes at its base or bottom end thereof a mechanically movable trap door 228 upon which the refuse is compressed and frozen. As seen in FIG. 19, the trap door 228 is appropriately connected to the bottom of chamber 138a so as to withstand the stress resulting from compression therein as well as being slidably mounted thereto.

A driving mechanism for mechanically opening and closing the trap 228 is provided and includes a conventional reversible drive motor 230 which is operatively connected to two laterally spaced threaded cylinders 232 for causing the cylinders to rotate about their respective longitudinal axis. Each threaded cylinder is mounted within a cooperating threaded bore in trap door 228 so as to cause the trap door to move along the longitudinal axis of each threaded cylinder during rotation thereof. Specifically, the trap door moves from its closed position to its open position when the reversible drive motor 230 is driven in one direction and moves from its open position to its closed position when the reversible drive motor is driven in the opposite direction.

The refuse disposing unit 226 is provided with conventional control devices mounted within a control panel 227 which operate the unit in the following manner. Once the compressor mechanism 140a is moved to its front position and energized for compressing refuse within chamber 138a, compressor head member 178a moves partially to its extended position and is maintained there for a predetermined period of time, allowing the refuse to be sufficiently compressed and frozen into a dense pellet-like unit. Thereafter, trap door 228 is automatically opened and the compressor head member 178a is moved further downward to its extended position for shearing the compressed and frozen refuse from the sides of chamber 138, the refuse falling out of the chamber due to its own gravitational force. The trap door 228 is thereafter automatically closed.

A gravitational conveyance tube 238, is provided for gravitationally removing the compressed and frozen refuse from housing 122, and directing it to, for example, an independent frozen storage unit.

Referring to FIG. 20, a variation 240 in the refuse disposing unit 226 is shown and is substantially identical to the unit 226 except for the placement of various components thereof. Therefore, a detailed description will not be given except to point out the various differences between the two units, reference being made to the description of refuse disposing unit 226 for a full description there. Like numerals designate like components.

Turning now to the specific variations in the refuse disposing unit 240, it can be seen in FIG. 20 that the refuse receiving and compressing chamber 138a is held in a fixed position within unitary compartment 130a and at approximately a 45° angle with the base or bottom of the compartment. This, as is apparent, allows the refuse receiving and compressing chamber to be constructed with greater depth, which in turn allows the compressor head member 178a of compressor mechanism 140a to extend out a greater distance within the chamber 138a during the compression cycle without changing the overall dimensions of the refuse disposing unit housing 122a.

Conveyance tracks 224 are also positioned or mounted at an incline, perpendicular to the chamber 138a, so that compressor mechanism 140a may be moved thereon from a non-compressing position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 20 to a compressing position as shown by dotted lines. The compressor mechanism 140a of refuse disposing unit 240 engages chamber 138, during compression cycle, in the same manner as described with respect to refuse disposing units 222 and 120.

The driving mechanism 204 for driving compressor mechanism 240, is permanently mounted to chamber 138a for operatively engaging the compressor mechanism when the latter is in its compressing position directly over the chamber.

As seen in FIG. 20, the refuse disposing unit embodiment 240 includes trap door 228 which is movable between a closed position for supporting refuse thereon and an open position for allowing the compressed frozen refuse to be gravitationally released from the chamber 138a, driving motor 230 and threaded cylinders 232 being provided for achieving this end. It is also to be noted, that upon dropping out of chamber 138, the compressed frozen refuse is gravitationally conveyed away therefrom by gravitational conveyance device 238 in the same manner as described with respect to FIG. 18.

A freezing compartment 242 may be provided with a conventional enclosing wall 244 for containing therein frozen foods or the like. The enclosing wall 244 is constructed from a highly conductive thermal material so that the environment within compartment 242 is maintained at the same freezing temperature as that within the remainder of compartment 130a, utilizing the same freezing coils.

The operation of refuse disposing unit 240 will not be described and reference is made to the operation of refuse disposing 226 which is identical thereto.

Turning to FIG. 21, a further refuse disposing unit embodiment 248 is shown. As will be seen hereinafter, this embodiment is quite different from those previously described in that refuse is not necessarily frozen simultaneously with compression thereof, but may be frozen immediately thereafter.

The refuse disposing unit 248 comprises a closed housing 250 which includes a conventionally hinge mounted loading door 252 at the top thereof for inserting refuse into the housing and an unloading door 253 conventionally hinge mounted to the front of housing 250 for removing compressed and frozen refuse as will be seen hereinafter.

A refuse storage compartment 254, a compressing compartment 256 and a freezing compartment 258 are provided within housing 250. As will be described in more detail hereinafter, refuse is placed within refuse storage compartment 254 and is thereafter compressed into a slab-like unit. After compression thereof, the compressed refuse or slab-like unit is moved from compartment 254 to freezing compartment 258 where it is immediately frozen into a dense slab-like unit.

The refuse storage compartment 254 includes a front wall 260 and two side walls 261, all of which comprise part of housing 250. In addition, the refuse storage compartment 254 includes a movably mounted top wall 262, a movably mounted back wall 264, and a movably mounted bottom or base 266, all of which move in a manner and for reasons described hereinafter.

The top wall 262 of refuse storage compartment 254 is conventionally slidably mounted within tracks 263 which extend from the front to the back of housing 250, for movement between a closed position directly below the loading door 252 as seen in FIG. 21 and an open position near the back of housing 250. When the top wall 262 is in its open position, refuse may be inserted through loading door 252 and into the refuse storage compartment 254. A disposable garbage bag 268, identical to the previously described disposable garbage bags, may be inserted into compartment 254 and on top of bottom or base 266 for receiving the refuse placed therein.

The back wall 264 is conventionally slidably mounted to tracks 265 for movement between a non-compressed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 21 and a compressed position as shown by dotted lines. As will be seen hereinafter, when the back wall 264 is moved from its non-compressed position to its compressed position, it compresses the disposable garbage bag 268 and refuse located therein into a slab-like unit 270.

The movable bottom or base 266 is conventionally slidably mounted to tracks 267 for movement between a closed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 21 and an open position as shown by dotted lines. The bottom or base 266, which acts like a trap door, allows the compressed refuse or slab-like unit 270 to be gravitationally ejected from compartment 254 when the base or bottom is in its open position.

In order to move top wall 262 and bottom or base 266 in the manner described above, a respective conventional piston and cylinder assembly (not shown) may be connected to each.

A compressor mechanism 274, which may be identical to any of the previously described compressor mechanisms, is conventionally mounted within and to compressing compartment 256, the compressor mechanism including a compressor head member 276 which is movable between a retracted position as indicated by solid lines in FIG. 21 and an extended position. It is readily apparent that as the compressor head member 276 moves towards its extended position, it moves the back wall 264 towards its compressed position for compressing disposable garbage bag 268 and refuse therein against front wall 260. The back wall 264 may be moved back to its initial position when the compressor head member is returned to its retracted position either by conventional spring biasing means (not shown) or by connecting means (not shown) which connect the back wall to the compressor head member, the connecting means pulling the back wall towards its initial or non-compressed position as the compressor head member moves back towards its retracted position.

The freezing compartment 258 is maintained therein at a temperature substantially below freezing by conventional freezing coils 271 and is thermally insulated from compartments 254 and 256 by conventional thermal insulation (not shown) so that the environment within compartments 254 and 256 are maintained substantially at ambient temperature. Additionally, heating coils (not shown) may be provided for periodically defrosting compartment 258.

Operationally, refuse which is accumulated within the household, is inserted through loading door 252 and into garbage bag 268, the top wall 262 being maintained in its open position at this time. When the garbage bag is filled, a button (not shown) is pushed, which actuates appropriate control devices within a control panel 273, for starting the compression operation. Once the button is pushed, the top wall 262 automatically moves to its closed position, at which time the compressor mechanism 274 is energized. The compressor head member 276 moves to its extended position and thereafter back to its retracted position. This in turn drives the back wall 264 from its initial or non-compressed position to its compressed position and back again, for compressing garbage bag 268 and refuse therein against front wall 260 so as to form slab-like unit 270. When the compressor head member 276 and back wall 264 return to their respective initial positions, the base or bottom 266 is automatically moved to its open position so that the compressed refuse or slab-like unit 270 may gravitationally fall into freezing compartment 258 where it is immediately frozen into a solid slab-like unit, the bottom or base being automatically returned to its closed position thereafter.

While it is preferred that the compressed refuse be frozen immediately after compression, rather than simultaneously therewith, it is to be understood, that the refuse may be frozen simultaneously with compression thereof and further that the refuse may be pre-chilled in the same manner and for the same reasons as described above. If, in fact, the refuse is frozen simultaneously with compression thereof, a vertically extending plug or pin 275 would be connected to the front end of bottom or base 266 and in approximately the middle thereof for aiding in removing the compressed frozen refuse from front wall 260. The only operational difference that would exist if the refuse were to be simultaneously frozen would be to maintain the compressor head member 276 in its extended position for a brief period of time so that the compressed refuse may be sufficiently frozen.

Turning to FIG. 22, a further embodiment 280 of a refuse disposing unit is shown and includes the "creeping pellet concept" to be described in detail below.

Generally speaking, the creeping pellet concept may be operationally defined in the following manner. Refuse is inserted into a chamber or housing in generally the same manner as described above, the chamber including one open end. The refuse is thereafter compressed and frozen into a solid pellet-like unit within the chamber or housing. This procedure is continuously repeated so that a plurality of pellets are formed, the pellets being compressed together so as to form one solid "inventory" pellet within the housing. Each time new refuse is compressed, the "inventory" pellet is caused to "creep" or extrude out the open end of the chamber by the compression force thereon. As the inventory pellet creeps or extrudes out the open end of the chamber, portions thereof are broken off so as to fall into a freezer storage assembly. This procedure is continuous. That is, each time new refuse is compressed and frozen to the inventory pellet, a portion of the inventory pellet is broken off thereof and directed to the freezer storage assembly.

The refuse disposing unit 280 comprises a unit housing 282 having a conventionally hinge mounted loading door 284 on its top thereof for inserting refuse therein, the housing being positioned adjacent an outside wall 294 within, for example, the kitchen area of a home. The refuse disposing unit further includes a refuse storage and compression chamber 286 for storing, compressing and removing refuse inserted through loading door 284, a compressor mechanism 288 for compressing the refuse inserted into chamber 286 and a storage assembly 290 located outside the home or dwelling for storing the refuse after it has been compressed and frozen into a dense pellet-like unit as will be described hereinafter.

The refuse storage and compression chamber 286 is defined by or comprises a longitudinally extending and slightly declined cylindrical conveyance tube or housing 292 which is partially located within unit housing 282 and partially located outside the home or dwelling, the tube extending through an opening in outside wall 294. It is to be understood, that while the conveyance tube is disclosed as having a circular cross section, it may include a rectangular, triangular, or other suitable cross-sectional shape. The back or rearward deflection end 296 of conveyance tube 292 curves downward as seen in FIG. 22, and includes a back or rearward opening 298 which overlies the storage assembly 290 in a manner to be described hereinafter for directing compressed and frozen refuse to the storage assembly.

The compressor mechanism 288 is mounted at the front end of tube or housing 292 and includes a compressor head member 300 which is movable between a retracted position as seen by solid lines in FIG. 22 and an extended position as seen by dotted lines, the compressor head member being movable through conveyance tube 292 for compressing refuse inserted therein. The compressor mechanism may be identical to any of the above described compressor mechanisms.

It should be apparent that without some type of resistance means within chamber 286, the compressor head member 300, when moved to its extended position would merely extrude refuse out the back or rearward end of the chamber without adequately compressing it. Therefore, a plurality of resistance devices 302, which will be described in more detail with respect to FIG. 22a are included within chamber 286 for providing regulated resistance to the movement of refuse within the chamber during the compression thereof. Specifically, the resistance devices 302 are constructed so as to allow the compressor head member 300 to exert a force greater than 50 pounds per square inch on the refuse within the chamber before the compressor head member is permitted to reach its most extended position. During this compression cycle, the refuse is caused to creep through and extrude out the open end of the chamber as will be described hereinafter.

Turning specifically to FIG. 22a, two such resistance devices are shown. Each device comprises a strip 304 of slightly resilient steel or the like which is rigidly fixed at one end thereof to the inside surface of tube or housing 292, its other end being free to move towards the center of chamber 286. The free end of each resistance device can be forced into the chamber by a corresponding set screw 306 which can be conveniently adjusted from outside the chamber. The set screws are properly adjusted so as to give sufficient resistance or back pressure for permitting development of adequate compression force of approximately 50 pounds per square inch in chamber 286 so as to compact the refuse therein. While only two resistance devices 302 are shown, it is to be understood, that any reasonable number may be provided for achieving the above-described end, the resistance devices being equally circumferentially spaced around the chamber 286.

Wedge like resistance devices have been described above for providing the required resistance or back pressure within chamber 286. It is to be understood, that other methods for achieving the same end may be used. For example, the chamber may be designed so as to inwardly taper in a conical manner at its back or rearward end for achieving the same end.

Another manner of providing the above-described resistance can be seen in FIG. 22b where a portion of the conveyance tube 292 is shown. Here, the tube is modified to include a plurality of longitudinal slots 313 which are equally spaced around the circumference of the tube near its rearward end. A compression belt 315, which is capable of contracting and expanding upon actuation thereof, is snugly mounted around the conveyance tube over the slots 313. Contraction of the belt causes the tube to likewise contract, around the slots, so that the overall diameter of the tube is reduced at that point. This reduction in diameter provides the required resistance necessary during the compression cycle, as described above. Operationally, as refuse is being compressed within the tube, the compressor belt is maintained in its contracted position until the refuse has been sufficiently frozen to the inventory pellet. Thereafter, the belt is allowed to expand to its initial position, so that the inventory pellet may be extruded through the tube.

Returning to FIG. 22, conventional freezing coils 307 are provided for continuously maintaining the environment within unit housing 282 including chamber 286 at a temperature substantially below freezing.

Operationally, as refuse is accumulated, it is inserted into the refuse storage and compression chamber 286 through loading door 284 and a cooperating opening 309 in the conveyance tube 292. A manually applied push button (not shown) may be provided for energizing the compressor mechanism 288 through appropriate controls in a panel 311, or the refuse disposing unit may include control devices which energize the compressor mechanism after the loading door 284 has been opened and subsequently closed. In either case, once the compressor mechanism is energized, compressor head member 308 begins to move from its retracted position towards its extended position. As stated above, resistance devices 302 or compression belt 315 provide adequate resistance or back pressure so that the compressor head member will exert a force of at least 50 pounds per square inch before reaching its completely extended position. It is to be noted, however, that this is assuming that some compressed and frozen refuse is already in chamber 286 for aiding in the development of this required back pressure or resistance. Accordingly, the refuse disposing unit 280 may be initially provided with a simulated or synthetic pellet-like unit mounted within chamber 286.

Once the compressor head member 300 is in its extended position, it is held there for a short period of time so that the compressed refuse may be adequately frozen into a solid pellet-like unit. The compressor head member is thereafter moved back to its retracted position.

It should be noted that refuse, inserted into chamber 286, tends to accumulate at the bottom thereof. Accordingly, as the compressor head member moves from its retracted position to its extended position, it simultaneously rotates 180° about its own axis. As the head member rotates, a plurality of outwardly extending V-shaped flanges 299, mounted to and circumferentially spaced on the face of the head member, causes the refuse to be more evenly distributed within chamber 286 during compression operation and fills void that might exist in the inventory pellet.

The above procedure is continuously repeated so that a plurality of compressed and frozen refuse layers 308 are formed, the plurality of layers being bonded or frozen together so as to form one solid "inventory pellet" within the chamber. It is to be noted, that as each layer is formed, that is, each time refuse is compressed and frozen within chamber 286, the inventory pellet is forced in a creeping manner towards the back or rearward portion 296 of housing 292. This in turn places an additional requirement on the compressor mechanism 288. That is, not only must compressor head member 300 be capable of exerting a force of 50 pounds per square inch on the refuse placed within chamber 286 for compression thereof, but it also must be capable of exerting sufficient force for moving the compressed and frozen refuse, i.e., the inventory pellet, therein towards open end 298 of the chamber.

As the inventory pellet moves to the right, as viewed in FIG. 22, during the compression cycle, a deflector section 310 which is an angled wedge mounted to the knee or bend of housing 292, causes layers of the inventory pellet to break off. This break will more than likely take place along a plane which separates each individual pellet 308 since that is the weakest connecting link or bond. As the layer breaks off it falls into the storage assembly 290, as will be described hereinafter. This operation repeats itself each time accumulated refuse is inserted into the chamber 286 and is compressed and frozen therein.

While FIG. 22 shows a simple wedge-like deflection device for breaking off portions of the compressed and frozen refuse as it is extruded through chamber 286, it is to be understood than any such device for achieving this end may be provided. For example, an actuated pusher device could be provided, which pusher device would "chop off" or "sever" the refuse as it leaves the chamber.

The frozen storage assembly 290, which is quite similar to the storage/freezer assembly described in my copending application entitled "Method for Disposing of Garbage and Refuse", Ser. No. 30,015, filed Apr. 15, 1970, comprises a closed, highly insulated housing 312 which is maintained therein at a temperature substantially below freezing by either its own source of cooling (not shown), a remote source (not shown), or by the housing 282 via chamber 286.

A pellet entry trap door 314 is provided at the top of housing 312 and is conventionally hinge mounted thereto. The trap door is spring-biased in its closed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 22 and is movable towards an open position as shown by dotted lines, the gravitational force of the deflected compressed and frozen refuse forcing trap door 314 to its open position for entry into storage assembly 290. A pellet removal trap door 316 is provided at the bottom or base of housing 312 for removing pellets therein in a manner to be described hereinafter. The pellet removal trap door is identical to that described in my last-mentioned copending application, reference being made thereto for details thereof.

The storage assembly 290 is removably connected to conveyance tube or housing 292 of refuse storage and compressor chamber 286 in a conventional manner (not shown) and is positioned thereto so that back or rearward opening 298 of tube 292 cooperates with pellet entering trap door 314 for allowing the deflected pellets to pass through the trap door and into the assembly. A conventional insulating gasket (not shown) may be provided for insulating the connecting section.

The frozen storage chamber includes an interior wall divider 318 as shown in FIG. 22, for promoting orderly and dense stacking of layers of compressed and frozen refuse as it enters the chamber.

A handle 320 is mounted at the top of the storage chamber so that the chamber can be emptied into a refuse truck (not shown) in the same manner as described in my last-mentioned copending application. In order to achieve this, the chamber is mounted for movement on a plurality of wheels 322 which allow the chamber to be wheeled from under the refuse storage and compression chamber 286 so that the refuse truck, utilizing a hoist, may lift the chamber therein for transferring the refuse from the frozen storage assembly to the truck.

Turning to FIG. 23, a variation 324 in the refuse disposing unit 280 is shown, incorporating the "doughnut concept" to be described below, and comprises a closed unit housing 326 which supports therein a conveyance tube 325 defining a refuse storage and compression chamber 328. The chamber is maintained at a temperature substantially below freezing in the same manner as described with respect to refuse disposing unit 280. A conventional hinge mounted loading door 330 is provided at the top of the housing for inserting refuse into compartment 328 through a cooperating opening 327 in the tube.

The compression operation of refuse disposing unit 324 is quite similar to that described with respect to refuse disposing unit 280. Specifically, as refuse is accumulated and inserted into chamber 328 it is compressed by a compressor mechanism 340, to be described hereinafter, so as to form an inventory pellet. Each time newly inserted refuse is compressed, the inventory pellet is forced or extruded towards an open end in the chamber (the right end as viewed in FIG. 23), and is forced against a deflection device 334 which may be identical to the deflection device 310 of FIG. 22. The deflection device aids in breaking off portions of the inventory pellet as it is extruded out the open end of chamber 328 in the same manner as described above with respect to embodiment 280. The broken refuse thereafter enters a frozen storage chamber 336 through a connecting skirt 338 which connects chamber 328 and the frozen storage assembly 336. The frozen storage assembly and connecting skirt will be described hereinafter.

Resistance devices (not shown) identical to the resistance devices 302 described with respect to FIGS. 22 and 22a or the compression belt 315 described with respect to FIG. 22b, are provided within chamber 328 and are mounted in the same manner and serve the same purpose. Therefore the resistance devices will not be described here and reference is made to the above description thereof.

The main difference in the refuse disposing unit 324 and the refuse disposing unit 280 resides in the compressor mechanism utilized by each. Like compressor mechanism 288 of unit 280, the compressor mechanism 340 of unit 324 is a hydraulically actuated piston and cylinder assembly and comprises a cylinder portion 342 and a piston portion 344. However, unlike the compressor mechanism 288, compressor mechanism 340 has its piston 344 rigidly connected to the left end of compartment 328 as viewed in FIG. 23, while cylinder portion 342 is movable between a retracted position as seen by solid lines in FIG. 23 and an extended position as seen by dotted lines, the cylinder being movable within chamber 328 towards and away from the open end thereof.

The cylinder portion 342 includes a compressor plate member or compressor head member 346 for compressing the refuse during the compression cycle and an outwardly extending probe portion 348 which in addition to forming center holes or cavities within the compressed and frozen refuse, (i.e., the "doughnut concept") also aids in the compression thereof by squeezing the refuse against the sides of chamber 328. The cylinder portion rotates 180° as it moves from its retracted position to its extended position and includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced V-shaped flanges 349 mounted to plate member 346. The rotational movement of the cylinder portion, in conjunction with the flanges, provides the same function as described with respect to FIG. 22.

The above described compressor mechanism 340 provides many advantages over the previously described embodiments. Firstly, because the cylinder portion of the compressor mechanism is movable rather than the piston portion, the over-all refuse disposing unit dimensions are reduced. Further, the probe portion 348 provides central, efficient and rigid guidance for the cylinder portion 342 so as to maintain the compressor mechanism in continuous alignment with chamber 328. The creation of a central hole or cavity in the compressed and frozen refuse provides for internal central cooling which in turn allows the compressed refuse to more rapidly freeze. In addition, the holes or cavities allow the refuse to be better handled in the ultimate disposing operation as will be seen hereinafter. Finally, as stated above, the probe portion 348 aids in the compression of the refuse by providing squeezing force thereto.

The frozen storage chamber 336 comprises a highly insulated housing 350 which is maintained therein at a temperature substantially below freezing by either its own source of cooling, a remote source, or it may be cooled by refuse storage and compression chamber 340 via connecting skirt 338. The top end of housing 350 is opened and connected to one end of connecting skirt 338 in a conventional manner (not shown), the other end of the connecting skirt being connected to the open end of conveyance tube 325. Conventional insulating gasket means may be provided for insulating the connections.

A T-shaped support member 352 is provided within frozen storage assembly 336 and includes a horizontal base 354 disengageably supported within a cooperating cavity on the bottom of and within housing 336 and a vertical pole portion 356 extending from horizontal base 354 to the top of housing 350. The horizontal base 354 is comprised of two opposing sections 358 which are hinge mounted to each other and to pole portion 356 for movement between substantially horizontal positions, as seen by solid lines in FIG. 23, and substantially vertical positions as seen by dotted lines, means (not shown) being provided for maintaining the sections in their substantially horizontal positions. The purpose for these movable sections will be described hereinafter.

Operationally the refuse disposing unit 354 is substantially identical to refuse dispensing unit 280 except for the cavity or hole extending through the inventory pellet of unit 354. Specifically, refuse is periodically placed into refuse storage and compression chamber 328, where it is compressed and frozen into an inventory pellet with a hole or cavity therethrough. Each time the refuse is compressed it is driven or extruded through the chamber 328 where it engages the deflection device 334. A portion of the refuse is broken off and, due to its own gravitational force, falls through connecting skirt 338 and towards frozen storage assembly 336. As the broken refuse enters the frozen storage assembly, the pole portion 356 of the T-shaped support member 352 enters the hole or cavity in the broken refuse so that the refuse is stacked on tope of horizontal base 354 and around the pole portion as seen in FIG. 23.

The frozen storage assembly 336 may be emptied into a garbage truck in the following manner. The assembly is wheeled out from under connecting skirt 338 by a plurality of wheels 360 which support the frozen storage assembly. A crane hoist of a garbage truck (not shown) is connected to a bore or hole 362 in the top of pole portion 356 and the entire T-shaped support member 352, along with the compressed and frozen refuse supported thereby, is lifted out of the housing 350 and moved to the garbage truck. At this time, the sections 358 of horizontal base 354 are moved to their respective vertical positions so that the refuse may freely fall into the truck. While this is the preferred manner for emptying the frozen storage assembly, it is to be understood that a bottom trap door similar to trap door 316 of refuse disposing unit 280 could be provided, in which case the T-shaped supporting member would not be required.

It is to be noted that the chamber 328 could be conically shaped which would eliminate resistance devices 302. Further, probe portion 348 of compressor mechanism 340 could be conically shaped so as to further aid in compressing the refuse within compartment 340.

Turning to FIG. 24, a variation 364 of the refuse disposing unit 324 is shown. The refuse disposing unit 364 is substantially identical to refuse disposing unit 324 except for the compressor mechanism and manner of compressing refuse. Therefore, those features which are identical will be designated by like numerals and described only where necessary for fully describing the differences.

As stated above, the differences between refuse disposing units 364 and 324 lie in the compressor mechanism and compression operation. Specifically, refuse disposing unit 364 includes a piston and cylinder type compressor mechanism 366 comprising a piston portion 368 which is rigidly connected at its free end to the back inside surface of the connecting skirt 338 in a conventional manner and a cylinder portion 370 which is movable between a retracted position at the rear of the conveyance tube and an extended position as shown by solid lines. The cylinder portion 370 has mounted on its left end, as viewed in FIG. 24, a compressor head member 372 for compressing refuse inserted into refuse storage and compressing chamber 340. A pair of aligned triangular cutting edges 374 are mounted to the inside surface of compressor head member 372 and on opposite sides of cylinder portion 370 for reasons to be described hereinafter.

Operationally, the refuse disposing unit 364 is quite similar to the operation of refuse disposing unit 324 and therefore will not be described in detail. It suffices to say, that as the refuse inserted into compartment 328 is compressed, frozen and extruded out the open end of chamber 328, it is simultaneously therewith severed into two sections by cutting edges 374. Portions of both of these sections are broken away by deflecting device 334 in the same manner as described above, and fall through connecting skirt 338 into a frozen storage assembly (not shown), the frozen storage assembly being similar to frozen storage assembly 336 without a T-shaped supporting member.

The chief advantage of the refuse disposing unit 364 over the refuse disposing unit 324 resides in the fact that piston 368 is mounted outside the refuse storage and compressing chamber 328 so as to allow a decrease in the overall dimensions thereof.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown, it should be understood that the invention is not limited thereto, since many modifications may be made. It is, therefore, contemplated to cover by the present application any modifications as fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.