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This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) from U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/601,708, filed on Aug. 16, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference, in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to apparatus for refuse or trash collection and containment. More particularly, it relates to those apparatus, which are portable and collapsible.
2. Background Art
People going on picnics, camping, fishing and all other outdoor activities often have to take trash bags and tie them to the nearest tree or anywhere that could have them upright and open to dispose trash. This poses a problem, because the trash bag can be torn and as a result garbage can be scattered about. Although there are public trash cans that are put at strategic points in various parks and public recreational places, people sometimes do not use them because of the distance (depending on the individual's location) the trash bins are away from them.
Another place where trash is generated is at construction sites; and in particular construction sites in cities. While some large and heavy refuse objects may be generated during construction, there generally are more, smaller pieces that need to be contained until they can be properly disposed of, by the proper method.
Thus, it is desirable to utilize an apparatus that can be put in place temporarily at selected locations at outdoor sites such as those described above, and at construction sites, and at other places where it is likely that significant quantities of trash would be generated. A variety of collapsible and/or foldable containers have been suggested in the prior art. However, most of these containers suffer from the disadvantage that it is not only necessary to “construct” the frame for the container, at each use (such as by unfolding or assembling the frame), but it is then necessary to find some way of securing a trash bag to the frame. Often, this is the weak link in the containment of trash, as the bag may become detached from the frame, and the trash scattered about the site of the container, thus defeating the very purpose of placing the container at the site.
Once the event for which the trash container has been placed has finished, or at selected time intervals, such as every few days, or when the trash container is full, it is necessary to remove the bag containing the trash from the frame. In the case of temporary placement, it is then necessary to collapse the frame, and move it to a new location, or into storage, until it is needed for another event. If the trash bag is securely connected to the frame, it is possible that upon disengagement from the frame, the bag may be torn. Again, the trash will be scatter about the site, and the very purpose of the trash container will be defeated.
To solve these problems with prior art trash containers described above, it has been realized that it is would be desirable to have a trash containment system wherein the bag could be connected to the frame in a secure but readily releasable fashion, so that the system could be easily constructed, the bag could be easily and securely attached to the frame, the bag could be easily detached from the frame after being filled or at an appropriate time after a particular use, and the frame then could be easily collapsed and carried away with the trash bag.
It is an object of the invention to provide a trash containment system wherein a trash collection bag, and a frame which supports the bag, are securely and releasibly connected together.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a trash containment system that is portable and collapsible.
It is another object of the invention to provide a trash containment system that is light in weight and easily assembled.
These objects and others are achieved in accordance with the invention by a trash containment system comprising a collapsible frame, the frame having components containing upwardly extending posts; and a bag for containing trash for connection to the frame, the bag having attached members for connection with the posts for mounting the bag in the frame. The members may be tubes that fit over ends of the posts, or rods that fit into holes in the posts. Preferably the members are tubes for closely receiving the posts. The members are preferably cylindrical in shape.
The bag may have a rectangular cross section, and the tubes are preferably located at corners of the bag. The bag may be machine washable and reusable. A disposable liner, such as an ordinary trash bag may be placed in the bag. The bag may have a compartment disposed along an exterior surface. The compartment may be configured with means to selectively open and close the compartment.
The frame may comprise pairs of tubular members pivotally arranged in an “X” shaped configuration; top pivoting devices for connection to a top of one of the tubular members of two adjacent pairs of tubular members; and bottom pivoting devices for connection to a bottom of one of the tubular members of two adjacent pairs of tubular members. The frame may also have a foldable brace extending between a first tubular member of the pair of tubular members, and a second tubular member of the pair of tubular members.
The bottom surface of each of the bottom pivoting devices may be configured with a threaded hole. An attachment device having a first threaded portion for screwing into the threaded hole, and a second portion having a spike for placement in the ground may be provided for each bottom pivoting device.
Each of the top pivoting members, and the bottom pivoting members may be configured with an “L” shaped wall, each leg of the wall having an opening for receiving hardware to attach one of the tubular members. Each of the top pivoting members has one of the posts extending upwardly therefrom.
The invention is also directed to a method for assembling a trash containment system comprising a collapsible frame, the frame having components containing upwardly extending posts; and a bag for containing trash for connection to the frame, the bag having attached members for connection with the posts for mounting the bag in the frame, comprising the steps of expanding the frame to an in-use configuration; and attaching the attached members of the bag to the posts.
The invention is further directed to a method for disassembling a trash containment system comprising a collapsible frame, the frame having components containing upwardly extending posts; and a bag for containing trash connected to the frame, the bag having attached members connected with the posts for mounting the bag in the frame, comprising the steps of detaching the attached members of the bag from the posts; and collapsing the frame to configuration conducive to transporting the frame.
The foregoing aspects and other features of the present invention are explained in the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a trash containment system in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a trash bag for use in the system in accordance with the invention of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a frame for use in the system in accordance with the invention of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4A is a bottom view of a top pivoting device of the frame of FIG. 3.
FIG. 4B is a top plan view of a top pivoting device of the frame of FIG. 3.
FIG. 4C is a side elevational view of a top pivoting device of the frame of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5A is a top plan view of a bottom pivoting device of the frame of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5B is a bottom view of a bottom pivoting device of the frame of FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an optional attachment for the bottom pivoting device of FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a trash containment system 10 incorporating features of the present invention. Although the present invention will be described with reference to the single embodiment shown in the drawings, it should be understood that the present invention can be embodied in many alternate forms of embodiments. In addition, any suitable size, shape or type of elements or materials could be used.
In FIG. 1, trash containment system 10 includes a trash bag 12 of generally solid rectangular shape when mounted to a frame, shown generally as 14, but foldable to be of much smaller size when not mounted to frame 14. In FIG. 2, trash bag 12 is shown as having mounted about its upper periphery at the corners, cylindrical members such as tubes 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D. Trash bag 12 is preferably formed of a durable material, such as burlap, or a synthetic material that can be disconnected from frame 14 to be machine-washed. An ordinary trash bag, such a rectangular plastic garbage bag, shown as 18 in dotted lines may have its top periphery folded over tubes 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D be used as a disposable liner for bag 12 when it is mounted to frame 14. If plastic garbage bag 18 should detach from the tubes 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D, plastic garbage bag 18 and the trash therein will simply fall into bag 12, and the trash will not be disbursed.
Bag 12 may have a pocket compartment 20 formed in at least one of its sides. Compartment 20 may have a closure device, such as a zipper 22 or a fastener. Compartment 20 may be used to store plastic garbage bags 18 used as disposable liners, or other items of use for at an event where trash containment system 10 is used.
Referring to FIG. 3, frame 14 may comprise eight tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G and 30H, in four pairs, the tubes being formed of a metal, such as steel. Each pair of tubes 30A,30B; 30C,30D; 30E,30F and 30G,30H, is connected together at the center by a respect rivet 32, so that the tubes of a pair intersect and are diagonal to each other in the configuration of an “X”. One of each pair of tubes is connected to another one of an adjacent pair of tubes at the top by respective upper pivoting devices 34, formed of a high strength polymer, that hold and position the pairs of tubes to form a square part of box like frame 14. One of each pair of tubes is connected to another one of an adjacent pair of tubes at the bottom by similar respective lower pivoting devices 36 to form the same size of square as that formed at the top.
Each pair of tubes 30A,30B; 30C,30D; 30E,30F and 30G,30H has a folding brace structure 31 made up of a first member 33 pivotally connected to a first tube of the pair, and a second member 35 pivotally connected to a second tube of the pair, the first member 33 and the second member 35 being pivotally connected to one another by a rivet 37. Members 33 and 35 have respective protrusions (not shown) and indented regions (not shown) for receiving the protrusions so that brace structures 31 may be locked in place in the position shown in FIG. 3, or folded by pushing up at the respective centers of brace structures 31, and pushing the frame together, to collapse frame 14 into a compact elongate structure that is easily transported.
Referring to FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C for top pivoting devices 34, each has a post 38 extending upwardly from a disk shaped body 40. Posts 38 are received within respective tubes 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D of bag 12 to easily, securely and releasable secure bag 12 to frame 14. The internal diameter of tubes 16A, 16B, 16C and 16D should be such as to closely receive a respective post 38.
Each of top pivoting devices 34 has an “L” shaped wall extending perpendicularly from its bottom. Each of the legs of the “L” has a hole 44 formed therein. Each of tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G and 30H may have appropriately sized, corresponding holes drilled in a direction perpendicular to their respective longitudinal axes, close to the top ends of tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G and 30H so that appropriate hardware, such as, for example, a rivet may be used to pivotally secure tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G and 30H to respective top pivoting device 34.
Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B for bottom pivoting devices 36, each has a generally has a respective “L” shaped wall 50 with holes 52 extending upwardly from a disk shaped body 54. Each of tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G, 30H may have appropriately sized, corresponding holes drilled in a direction perpendicular to their respective longitudinal axes, close to the bottom ends of tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G, 30H so that appropriate hardware such as, for example, a rivet may be used to pivotally secure tubes 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G and 30H to respective bottom pivoting device 36.
Referring to FIG. 5B and FIG. 6, the bottom pivoting devices 36 differ from the top pivoting devices 34, in that each has a threaded hole 56 on its bottom for receiving an optional attachment 58. A cylindrical, threaded top end 60 of attachment 58 can be screwed into hole 56. Attachment 58 may have a disk shape body 62 from which top end 60 protrudes in a first direction. A spike 64 protrudes from body 62 in a second direction. Spike 64 can be inserted into various soft surfaces to anchor the refuse containment system in accordance with the invention. Depending on the surface where the apparatus is to be placed (either hard or soft), will determine if the attachment 58 is needed.
Variations of the embodiment shown will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the bag 12 may have cylindrical rods affixed at its corners, that closely fit within holes in posts 38. Thus, it should be understood that the foregoing description is only illustrative of the invention. Various alternatives and modifications can be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variances that fall within the scope of the appended claims.