Title:
CONTAINERS FOR REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS AND METHODS THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a container system for holding one or more reusable bags that comprises a compartment and permanently affixed upon its exterior surface a first pocket, and either an attachment motif or a holder. The compartment, also having an interior surface, comprises a first fabric and an opening that is dimensioned and for receiving/removing or storing a reusable bag within the interior of the compartment. The first pocket has a transparent portion. The attachment motif is configured to attach the container system to an object and the holder is configured for receiving a pen, a key chain or something the like. The invention further provides methods for using the container system.



Inventors:
Stein, Sandra (Los Angeles County, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/145450
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
06/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jones, Day (222 EAST 41ST ST, NEW YORK, NY, 10017, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A container system for holding one or more reusable bags, the container system comprising: (a) a compartment that comprises a first fabric, the compartment having an interior and the compartment having an exterior surface, wherein the compartment further comprises an opening that is dimensioned and configured to have at least a first state and a second state wherein, when the opening is in the first state, the compartment is configured for receiving a reusable bag in said interior or removing a reusable bag from said interior, and when the opening is in the second state, the compartment is configured for storing a reusable bag in said interior but is not configured for receiving or removing a reusable bag from said interior; (b) a first pocket having a transparent portion, wherein the first pocket is permanently affixed to a first portion of said exterior surface of said compartment, wherein the first pocket is configured to receive, produce, and store a shopping list comprising a plurality of items and wherein the transparent portion of the first pocket is configured such that, when a shopping list is stored in the first pocket, the shopping list can be read through the transparent portion of the first pocket; and (c) either (i) an attachment motif permanently affixed to a second portion of said exterior surface of said compartment or embedded in said compartment, wherein the attachment motif is configured to attach the container system to an object thereby supporting the container system when the container system is attached to an object, or (ii) a holder permanently affixed to a third portion of said exterior surface of said compartment through which a pen, key chain or key finder may be attached to said compartment.

2. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said holder.

3. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said attachment motif.

4. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said holder and said attachment motif.

5. The container system of claim 1, wherein said first fabric is a flexible fabric that allows distortion of a shape of said compartment.

6. The container system of claim 1, wherein said first fabric comprises an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile or a combination thereof.

7. The container system of claim 1, wherein said first fabric comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, velvet, taffeta, Pin a (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, glass fiber, basalt fiber, elastane, carbon fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, olefin fiber, polyolefin, Vicuna fiber, polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, Lyocell, Kenaf fiber, polyphenylene sulfide, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane.

8. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said attachment motif and wherein said attachment motif is permanently affixed to said second portion of said exterior surface of said compartment.

9. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said attachment motif and wherein said attachment motif is a magnet embedded in said compartment.

10. The container system of claim 1, wherein the container system comprises said attachment motif and wherein said attachment motif is a closed elongated structure by which the container is suspended from an object.

11. The container system of claim 1, wherein said compartment further comprises means of closure through which said opening of said compartment is: (i) reversibly switched from the first state to the second state; and (ii) reversibly switched from the second state to the first state.

12. The container system of claim 11, wherein said means of closure comprises a button, a zipper, a two layer system comprising a hook layer and a loop layer, or a shoe lace system.

13. The container system of claim 1, further comprising a reusable bag inside said compartment, wherein said reusable bag comprises a second fabric.

14. The container system of claim 13, wherein said second fabric comprises a flexible fabric that allows said reusable bag to form a compact shape.

15. The container system of claim 13, wherein said second fabric comprises an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile or a combination thereof.

16. The container system of claim 13, wherein said second fabric comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, velvet, taffeta, Pin a (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, glass fiber, basalt fiber, elastane, carbon fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, olefin fiber, polyolefin, Vicuna fiber, polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, Lyocell, Kenaf fiber, polyphenylene sulfide, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane.

17. The container system of claim 13, wherein said first fabric comprises nylon or leather and the second fabric comprises nylon.

18. The container system of claim 13, wherein said reusable bag comprises means for grasping and carrying the reusable bag suspended from a hand.

19. The container system of claim 18, wherein said means for grasping and carrying the reusable bag is a handle or a shoulder strap.

20. The container system of claim 1, wherein said transparent portion of the first pocket comprises a sheer material that is substantially transparent to the human eye.

21. The container system of claim 1, further comprising a second pocket, wherein the second pocket is inside said compartment.

22. The container system of claim 1, further comprising a water repellent coating overlayed on the exterior surface.

23. The container system of claim 2, further comprising two or more holders.

24. The container system of claim 23, wherein said two or more holders are located on one side of said compartment.

25. The container system of claim 23, wherein said two or more holders are located on two or more sides of said compartment.

26. The container system of claim 23, wherein one of said two or more holders holds a pen.

27. The container system of claim 23, wherein one of said two or more holders holds a key locator.

28. The container system of claim 23, wherein one of said two or more holders holds a pen while another of said two or more holders holds a key locator.

29. A method for utilizing a container system, wherein the container system comprises a compartment that is made of a first fabric, the compartment having an interior, wherein the compartment comprises an opening that is dimensioned and configured to have at least a first state and a second state, and wherein the container system comprises (i) a first pocket permanently attached to an exterior surface of the compartment, the first pocket comprising a transparent portion, and (ii) an attachment motif affixed to or embedded in said compartment, the method comprising: (A) setting the compartment to said first state, wherein, when the opening is in the first state, the compartment is configured to receive a reusable bag in said interior; (B) placing a reusable bag made of a second fabric in said interior of said compartment; (C) setting the compartment to said second state, wherein, when the opening is in the second state, the compartment is configured to store the reusable bag in said interior but is not configured for receiving or removing the reusable bag from said interior; (D) placing a shopping list in the first pocket; (E) attaching the container system to an object using the attachment motif, and (F) reviewing a shopping list through the transparent portion of the first pocket.

30. The method of claim 29, the method further comprising: (G) setting the compartment to said first state; and (H) removing the reusable bag from the container.

31. The method of claim 29, wherein the container system further comprises a holder permanently affixed to an exterior surface of the container, the method further comprising: (G) inserting a pen, a key chain or a key finer into the holder.

Description:

1. FIELD

Container systems for carrying reusable shopping or utility bags and methods for using same are provided.

2. BACKGROUND

Recently, environmental concerns have prompted regulations that ban plastic bags in large supermarkets in certain states within the United States and elsewhere around the world. The same concerns have also prompted many consumers to voluntarily carry their own reusable shopping bags with them when shopping, allowing them to decline the use of paper and plastic bags from merchants when they make purchases. One type of reusable shopping or utility bag is made of string mesh to render the bags collapsible. However, mesh bags are uncomfortable to carry because they have a tendency to cut into the consumer's hand and decrease the circulation of blood. As shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,998 to Phillips issued on Oct. 29, 1991, the string mesh handles of such bags can be fitted into slots in a reusable handle or shopping caddy made of a stiff material such as wood or hard plastic to alleviate the discomfort of carrying mesh bags. But no convenient means for organizing and coordinating the use of the mesh bag and shopping caddy has yet been devised.

Others have made reusable bags made of canvas, because of its strength, including those with canvas handles that are easier to carry. However, canvas bags are heavy and bulky and do not collapse into compact sizes for storage into a small space. Consequently, these bags are not convenient for the consumer to store and carry for reuse. Additionally, such bags are not generally sized to be used with grocery assistance racks commonly used at nationwide supermarket chains. Relatively few consumers take the trouble to actually reuse such inconvenient bags for tasks such as grocery shopping because such tasks require many bags and a consumer has little incentive to carry many canvas bags around due to their weight and bulkiness.

FIGS. 1-6 depict a type of reusable bag system in which a consumer can carry a compact reusable bag when such bag is stuffed or folded into a flexible carrier body. The bag stuffed in a carrier may be put inside a purse, a pocket, a larger carrier device, or alternative hung by a lanyard, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,251,743 to Pulido et al., issued on Oct. 12, 1993, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. However, because of its small size, the stuffed reusable bag depicted in FIGS. 1-6 may not be easily located, especially when one is in a rush to go for a quick run to, for example, a grocery store or a shopping mall, thus defeating the purpose of the reusable bag.

Activities like grocery shopping occur in every household on a regular basis. Indeed plastic bags contribute to a considerable portion of the plastic waste generated around the world. What is needed in the art are ways to conveniently locate, carry, utilize, and maintain reusable bags such that they are accessible and functional to a consumer in order to truly serve the purpose of reducing the impact by the large number of shopping bags and containers on our environmental.

3. SUMMARY

One aspect provides a container system for holding one or more reusable bags. The container system comprises a compartment with an exterior surface. The container system further comprises a first pocket that is permanently affixed upon its exterior surface. In some embodiments the container system further comprises an attachment motif. In some embodiments the container system further comprises a holder. The compartment has an opening that is dimensioned for receiving, removing and storing a reusable bag within the compartment interior. In some embodiments, the first pocket has a transparent portion (e.g., a clear plastic film is used as the surface of the first pocket in some embodiments). The first pocket is configured to receive a shopping list comprising a plurality of items. And when a shopping list is stored in the first pocket, the shopping list can be read through the transparent portion of the first pocket. In some embodiments, the surface of the first pocket is only semi-transparent or non-transparent but is designed with a mesh-like structure. In such embodiments, the shopping list can still be read through the transparent portion of the first pocket.

The attachment motif is configured to attach the container system to an object (e.g., by using a magnet or a two layer system comprising a hook layer and a loop layer) and the holder is configured for receiving an object such as a pen, a key chain, a Finders Key Purse™, or a similar item. The invention further provides methods for using the container system. In some embodiments, the container system has both a holder and an attachment motif. In some embodiments, the holder can also be used as an attachment motif or vice versa.

In some embodiments, the compartment comprises a first fabric. In some embodiments, this first fabric comprises animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the first fabric is selected from the group consisting of cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, artificial silk, velvet, taffeta, Piña (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, acetate rayon, glass fiber, basalt fiber, carbon fiber, metal fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, elastane, Olefin fiber, polyolefin, polyvinyl chloride fibers, Viscose fiber, Vicuna fiber, polyphenylene sulfide, polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, polyactide fiber, linen, Lyocell fiber, Kenaf fiber, KEVLAR®, polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyurethane, and Sorona polymer.

Another aspect provides a method for utilizing a container system. The container system comprises a compartment that is made of a first fabric, the compartment having an interior, where the compartment comprises an opening that is dimensioned and configured to have at least a first state and a second state, and where the container system comprises (i) a first pocket permanently attached to an exterior surface of the compartment, the first pocket comprising a transparent portion, and (ii) an attachment motif affixed to or embedded in the compartment. In the method, the compartment is set to the first state, where, when the opening is in the first state, the compartment is configured to receive a reusable bag in said interior. Further in the method, a reusable bag is placed in the interior of the compartment. The compartment is then set to the second state in which the compartment is configured to store the reusable bag in the interior but is not configured for receiving or removing the reusable bag from the interior. A shopping list is placed in the first pocket. The container system is attached to an object using the container system attachment motif. The shopping list is reviewed through the transparent portion of the first pocket. In some embodiments, the method further comprises setting the compartment to the first state and removing the reusable bag from the container. In some embodiments the container system further comprises a holder permanently affixed to an exterior surface of the container and the method further comprises inserting a pen, a key chain, or a key finder into the holder.

In some embodiments, the compartment of the container system further comprises two or more holders. For example, the two or more holders are located on the same side of the compartment. Alternatively, the two or more holders are located on two or more sides of the compartment. In some embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a pen. In other embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a key locator. In some embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a pen while another of the two or more holders holds a key locator.

4. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The features and advantages disclosed herein will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIGS. 1-5 illustrate a container containing a reusable bag in accordance with the prior art.

FIG. 6 illustrates the reusable bag taken out of the container in accordance with the prior art.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates a back view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates a bottom view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate side views of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates a reusable bag taken out of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 15 illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates a perspective view of the back of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 17A and 17B illustrate an embodiment of the attachment motif of an exemplary embodiment of a compartment with a holder and a pocket containing a reusable bag in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

5. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One aspect of the present invention provides a container system for reusable shopping bags. An integral part of the container is a compartment. This compartment is integrated with permanently fixed motifs to form the container system. One such permanently fixed motif is for attaching the compartment to another object such as the surface of a refrigerator, a hook, a knob, etc. Another is a pocket for storing notes, shopping lists, coupons and the like. In some embodiments, the container system further includes a holder device, also permanently affixed to the compartment, for holding a pen.

5.1 Apparatus

Depicted in FIG. 7 is a container system 100 in accordance with one aspect of the present invention. The container system comprises a compartment 10, which has an opening 30 formed by sides 40. The opening 30 is configured to have two different states: an open state and a closed state. In the open state, the opening 30 is configured for receiving one or more reusable shopping bags. In some embodiments, the compartment 10 further has a holder 80 attached to its side. In some embodiments, a reusable bag (not shown in FIG. 7) is folded or stuffed into a compact shape and put inside compartment 10. The opening 30 is further provided with a closing device 50 to close the sides 40. In some embodiments, the exterior surface of the compartment 10 has larger surfaces (e.g., a front surface and/or back surface) and smaller surfaces (e.g., a side, where the larger surfaces have a larger surface area than the smaller surfaces). In some embodiments, a pocket 20 is attached to the exterior surface of the compartment 10. The pocket 20 is used to display a note such as a grocery list or coupon. In some embodiments, the holder 80 is permanently affixed to the side of the compartment 10 and a pen or pencil 90 is attached to the holder 80. In other embodiments, an object other than a pen or pencil may be inserted into the holder 80 including a key finder, a key chain or anything the like.

Now that an overview of an apparatus in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure has been provided, specific components of the apparatus will be described in more detail.

Compartment 10. The Compartment 10 has an interior surface and an exterior surface. In some embodiments, the interior surface and exterior surface are made of the same type of material. In some embodiments, an additional coating, such as water repellent coating, is applied on either the interior surface or the exterior surface.

The compartment 10 can be made of any material, flexible or rigid. Preferably the compartment 10 is made of a flexible but durable fabric such as plastic, leather, canvas, or a durable, water resistant nylon fabric, such as “Oxford” nylon having a denier of at least 200. The compartment 10 can be of any shape, but preferably has a relatively larger surface in at least one dimension where a pocket is permanently affixed. In some embodiments, the compartment 10 has a rectangular shape as depicted in FIGS. 7-9. In other embodiments, the compartment 10 may have a non-rectangular shape such as a round shape, an oval shape, a triangular shape, or any other suitable shape.

While any shape can be used for the compartment 10, it is preferred to use a geometric shape that forms a mirror image with itself to facilitate the function of the closing device 50 and the holder 80. Therefore, circles, ovals, rectangles, squares, hexagons and octagons all tend to work well in this application. The thickness of the compartment 10 should be suitable for its function as a container for an article or multiple articles once such articles have been folded up. The compartment 10 may also be an elongated cylindrical shape. In some embodiments, the shape of the compartment 10 is slightly altered once a reusable bag is placed into the compartment 10.

The compartment 10 can be made of any material, preferably a flexible one, and can be of any shape, but is preferably elongated and sized to be grasped comfortably by the hand or to be conveniently carried inside a handbag, briefcase, backpack, a piece of luggage, or a large pocket. While the exact size and shape of the compartment 10 can vary, it is large enough to contain one or more reusable bags, preferably of 70 denier, or “Rip Stop” nylon, such as those shown in FIG. 14. Optionally, the compartment 10 is also large enough to hold a lightweight shopping caddy, such as that claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,998 issued to Phillips on Oct. 29, 1991, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. In some embodiments, the exterior of the compartment 10 also preferably provides a surface to which can be affixed or upon which can be embossed or imprinted a design or label, such as a decorative or promotional design.

The compartment 10 can be made of an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile (organic or inorganic), or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the compartment 10 comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, artificial silk, velvet, taffeta, TENCEL®, Piñfa (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, DRACON® fiber, SARAN® fiber, acetate rayon, glass fiber, basalt fiber, carbon fiber, metal fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, SPANDEX® (or elastane), Olefin fiber, polyolefin, VINYON® (or polyvinyl chloride fibers), Viscose fiber, Vicuna fiber, Sulfar (or polyphenylene sulfide), polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, INGEO® fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, LYCRA®, Lyocell fiber, Kenaf fiber, KEVLAR®, polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyurethane, or Sorona polymer. In some embodiments, a layer of water proof material is coated on the exterior surface of the compartment 10.

In some embodiments, decorative accent is added to the compartment 10 to enhance its appeal. In one example, the compartment 10 is personalized with the owner's initials. The compartment 10 may also be dyed any desirable color or pattern of colors.

In some embodiments, the exterior of the compartment 10 has a dimension of 10 centimeters squared (cm2) or larger, 20 cm2 or larger, 50 cm2 or larger, 70 cm2 or larger, 100 cm2 or larger, 150 cm2 or larger, or 200 cm2 or larger. In some embodiments, a side dimension of the compartment 10 is 5 centimeters (cm) or larger, 7 cm or larger, 9 cm or larger, or 10 cm or larger.

In some embodiments, the volume of the compartment 10 is 10 cubic centimeters (cm3) or larger, 20 cm3 or larger, 50 cm3 or larger, 70 cm3 or larger, 100 cm3 or larger, 150 cm3 or larger, or 200 cm3 or larger.

Pocket 20. Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, a pocket 20 is located on a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment 10. The pocket 20 has a pocket opening 25 through which a note may be put into the pocket and displayed. In some embodiments, the pocket opening 25 is located at the top of the compartment 10 near the opening 30. In some embodiments, the pocket opening 25 is located at the bottom of the compartment 10 away from the opening 30. In some embodiment, the pocket opening 25 is located at a side of the compartment 10, for example, near holder 80 or away from holder 80 on the opposite side. The pocket 20 has a transparent surface through which a note may be displayed. The note, for example, may be a list of grocery items, a coupon for shopping or anything relevant and suitably sized.

Preferably, the pocket 20 has a transparent portion. In some instances this transparent portion comprises a plastic film made of a synthetic polymeric material such as polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, polyester, polyurethane or polyethylene terephthalate. In some instances the plastic film is either transparent or opaque. When a plastic film is used, it is single-layered or multi-layered and is made of the same or different film materials which are suitable to the end use application. If the pocket material is multi-layered, the layers may be made of different materials which are joined together; for example, as a net or webbing bonded to a plastic film, fabric material or a paper.

In some embodiments, the pocket 20 has a mesh or webbed surface, transparent or opaque, but through which notes or coupons may be readily recognizable. In some embodiments, such transparent pockets may be made of elastic material such that the pockets can be expanded to house more notes, coupons, or the like. In some embodiments, the pocket 20 is transparent enough such that writings on any note stored in the pocket may be read without having to take such notes out of the pocket. In some embodiments, the pocket 20 is only partially transparent.

In some embodiments, the pocket 20 comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, artificial silk, velvet, taffeta, TENCEL®, Piñfa (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, DRACON® fiber, SARAN® fiber, acetate rayon, glass fiber, basalt fiber, carbon fiber, metal fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, SPANDEX® (or elastane), Olefin fiber, polyolefin, VINYON® (or polyvinyl chloride fibers), Viscose fiber, Vicuna fiber, Sulfar (or polyphenylene sulfide), polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, INGEO® fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, LYCRA®, Lyocell fiber, Kenaf fiber, KEVLAR®, polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyurethane, or Sorona polymer.

In some embodiments, there is more than a single pocket 20, and such pockets 20 are located on more than one exterior surface of the compartment 10. For example, in some embodiments a second pocket 20 is located on a second exterior side of the compartment 10. In some embodiments, the pocket 20 is one pocket that circumferentially wraps around the compartment 10. In some embodiments, the pocket 20 is made of elastic material that is configured to tightly hold a note. In some embodiments a second pocket 20 is attached on an exterior surface of the compartment 10 that is opposite to an exterior surface of the compartment 10 where a first pocket 20 is provided.

Opening 30. Referring to FIG. 7, the compartment 10 contains an opening 30. Preferably, the opening 30 is located on an end of the compartment 10, for example on a side of the compartment 10 or on a surface of the compartment 10. In some embodiments, the opening 30 is formed by side flaps 40 and is configured to have two different states: and open state and a closed state. In its open state, the opening 30 is configured for receiving one or more reusable shopping bags or for having one or more reusable shopping bags removed from therein. In its closed state, the opening 30 is configured to retain one or more reusable shopping bags that have already been put inside the compartment 10. The closed state is achieved by using the closing devise 50, which is described in detail below.

The opening 30 is preferably located at an end of the container 10, for example, at the top end as depicted in FIG. 7. The opening 30 is provided with a closing device 50, such as strips of self-adhesive material positioned approximately opposite to each other, for example, on opposite sides 40 facing each other, to allow for engagement when pressed together or otherwise closed. Alternatively, a snap, a zipper, or any other type of self-adhesive closing device known to those skilled in the art, can be used to close the opening 30. In some embodiments, the opening 30 is not limited only to one side of the compartment 10. For example, the opening 30 can occupy two or more sides of the compartment 10. In these embodiments, the closing device will accordingly also be located on two or more sides of the compartment 10.

In certain embodiments, the opening 30 is formed by two sides 40; one side 40 is equipped with an additional fold that can be folded to wrap over the other side 40. The resulting opening 30 is naturally in a closed state when the additional fold is wrapped over the other side 40, thus rendering a closing device 50 unnecessary.

In some embodiments, the opening 30 comprises a relatively large side 40 which can be folded over a simple side 40. This system is similar to that of the conventional women's wallet or small purses.

Closing device 50. A closing device 50 is used to secure the opening 30 such that the compartment 10 is in a closed state to retain one or more reusable bags 60 inside. In some embodiments, the opening 30 is located on a surface of the compartment 10 and formed by two sides 40. The closing device 50 can be any suitable closing device, including but not limited to one or more buttons, strips of self-adhesive material positioned on opposite sides 40 (in order to allow for engagement when pressed together or otherwise closed) or the like. In the case where one or more buttons are used, such buttons can be, for example, shank buttons, cover buttons, flat or sew-through buttons, worked or cloth buttons, Mandarin buttons, silk knots and the like.

Alternatively, any of a variety of fasteners are used to as closing device 50. Preferably, the type of fastener is releasable, reusable fastener such as one or more snaps, a VELCRO® system with a hook layer and a loop layer, a zip-lock fastener, a metal twist closure, or any other type of fastener that is releasable and reusable. If the fastener type is a two-part fastener such as a snap, a VELCRO® system with a hook layer and a loop layer, or a zip-lock fastener, the separate parts of the two-part fastener are disposed at predetermined locations on side flaps 40. In this way, the separate parts of the two-part fastener align to close and secure the reusable bag 60 within the container 10.

The closing device 50 may further include a snap fastener, a popper, a press stud, a rivet, a zipper, a VELCRO® closing system with a hook layer and a loop layer, a magnet flip, or a self-adhesive closing device. Alternatively, any type of closing device known to those skilled in the art can be used as the closing device 50 to close the opening 30.

In other embodiments, the closing device 50 is a shoelace like system. In still other embodiments, the closing devise 50 is a drawstring system that goes around side flaps 40. When the string is drawn, excess string forms a loop that is used to hang the compartment 10 or container system 100 onto a hook, a knob, a handle, a nail, a key holder or any other protruding objects. In its drawn state, the drawstring closes the opening 30 and forms a loop by which the container system 100 is hung onto a hook, a knob, a handle, a nail, a key holder or any other protruding objects. In still other embodiments, the closing device 50 is an elastic string that goes around the side flaps 40. The opening 30 is opened by expanding the string and is closed otherwise.

In some embodiments, the opening 30 is not limited only to one side of the compartment 10. Accordingly, the closing device 50 is also not limited to one side of the compartment 10. For example, the closing device 50 can be a zipper that zips around the compartment 10 and covers two or three sides of the compartment.

Attachment motif 70. In some embodiments, the compartment 10 is further provided with an attachment motif 70 such that the compartment 10 (and thus the container system 100) can be attached to a surface. Examples of such a surface include, but are not limited to the front or side of a refrigerator, a wall, a desk/table, the surface of a cabinet, etc. Alternatively, the attachment motif can be used to attached the compartment 10 (and thus the container system 100) to other objects such as, for example, a hook, a handle, a nail, a key holder, a knob, a handle or any protruding objects. In some embodiments, referring to FIG. 9, attachment motif 70 is a magnet located on or in a side of the compartment 10.

Preferably, the magnet is embedded in layers of material that form the compartment 10, as depicted in FIGS. 16 and 17A. Also preferably, the magnet has a dimension that is significantly smaller than the dimensions of the container 10. For example, in some embodiments the magnet is a disk of circular, square, triangular, or rectangular shape that easily fits into layers of fabric that form the container 10. In some embodiments, the largest dimension of the magnet is 400 millimeters or smaller, 200 millimeters or smaller, 100 millimeters or smaller, 50 millimeters or smaller, 25 millimeters or smaller, 20 millimeters or smaller, or 50 millimeters or smaller. In some embodiments, the strength of the magnet is strong enough to attach the container system 100 having a mass of 10 grams or more, 15 grams or more, 20 grams or more, 30 grams or more, 50 grams or more, 75 grams or more, 100 grams or more, 120 grams or more, 150 grams or more, 175 grams or more, 200 grams or more, 250 grams or more, 300 grams or more, 350 grams or more, 400 grams or more, 450 grams or more, or 500 grams or more to a surface or object.

In some embodiments, the attachment motif 70 utilizes a VELCRO® system which comprises a hook layer and a loop layer. In some embodiments, the attachment motif 70 is fixed onto a smooth surface via suction pressure by a suction cup, or a similar device. Additionally, in some embodiments, the compartment 10 (and hence container 100) is loosely attached to an object, for example, hung from a hook, a knob, a handle, a nail, a key holder or any other protruding objects. Accordingly, in these embodiments, the attachment motif 70 takes the form of a strap, a clip, a clasp, an elastic band, a handle, a drawstring, or the like. In some embodiments, the attachment motif 70 is a drawstring that also serves as the closing device 50.

In some embodiments, the compartment 10 has both an attachment motif 70 (e.g., an embedded magnet, a VELCRO® system with a hook layer and a loop layer) and a drawstring closing 50 so that the compartment 10 is attached to a metal object such as a refrigerator via the magnet or hung to a hook, a knob by the draw string.

Still additionally, the attachment motif 70 can be a clasp, a key chain/ring or the like that is permanently fixed to the compartment 10. The clasp can be round, square or oblong, made of plastic, metal or fiber the carrier body can be made of a variety of fabrics and in several shapes; and the additional embodiments of attachment motif 70 can be made of a variety of materials and shapes. Sizes can be altered somewhat as long as the overall size remains convenient.

In some embodiments, the attachment motif 70 is not permanently attached to the compartment 10. For example, in some embodiments the attachment motif is a clip that clips onto an end of the compartment 10. The clip then allows the compartment 10 to be clipped or attached to other objects. Alternatively, the compartment 10 is attached to a device such as a key locator as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,308,922 to Stein issued on Dec. 18, 2007, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The compartment 10 may be attached to the key locator through the a holder 80, as described below. In these embodiments, the container system 100 is attached to a key locator (e.g., FINDERS KEY PURSE® available from Alexx, Inc.). The key locator allows a container system 100 to be fixed on the side of a purse, a pocket or a similar device and therefore can be easily located and accessible to the user. In these embodiments, the external attachment devices function as attachment motif 70. Any device that allows such attachment can be utilized in conjunction with the compartment 10 and container system 100.

Holder 80. Referring to FIGS. 10-15, a holder 80 is optionally permanently fixed to one of the surfaces of the compartment 10 (e.g., a side) in some embodiments. The holder 80 is configured to receive a pen, a pencil, or the like. In some embodiments, the holder 80 is a loop through which a pen or pencil is attached. In other embodiments, an object such as a key chain, a key locator (e.g., FINDERS KEY PURSE® available from Alexx, Inc.) may be attached to the holder 80. In preferred embodiments, the loop is made of the same material that the compartment 10 or reusable bag 60 comprises, which includes but is not limited to cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, artificial silk, velvet, taffeta, TENCEL®, Piña (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, DRACON® fiber, SARAN® fiber, acetate rayon, glass fiber, basalt fiber, carbon fiber, metal fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, SPANDEX® (or elastane), Olefin fiber, polyolefin, VINYON® (or polyvinyl chloride fibers), Viscose fiber, Vicuna fiber, Sulfar (or polyphenylene sulfide), polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, INGEO® fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, LYCRA®, Lyocell fiber, Kenaf fiber, KEVLAR®, polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyurethane, or Sorona polymer.

In some embodiments, the holder 80 is a loop made of elastic material such that pens or pencils of different widths and sizes and shapes may be attached to the holder. In other embodiments, the holder 80 is attached to a key locator (e.g., FINDERS KEY PURSE® available from Alexx, Inc.). In additional embodiments, the holder 80 functions as an attachment motif through which the compartment 10 is attached to a hook, a knob, a handle, a nail, a key holder or any other protruding objects.

In some embodiments, there are more than one holder 80 permanently affixed to the compartment 10. For example, there are two or more holders, three or more holders, four or more holders, five or more holders, six or more holders, eight or more holders, ten or more holders, all of which are permanently affixed to the compartment 10. In some embodiments, the two or more holders are located on the same side of the compartment. Alternatively, the two or more holders are located on two or more sides of the compartment. In some embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a pen. In other embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a key locator. In some embodiments, one of the two or more holders holds a pen while another of the two or more holders holds a key locator.

Reusable bag 60. The compartment 10 is used to retain one or more reusable bags 60. In preferred embodiments, one or more reusable bags 60 are folded into compact shapes and put inside the compartment 10. In some embodiments, creases are provided during manufacturing of such reusable bags 60 so that they can be easily folded into compact shapes.

As also illustrated in FIG. 14, reusable bag 60 is preferably provided with reinforced handle regions 62 located at the top of armholes 64, which handle regions are optionally sized to fit into slots in a rigid carrying handle or shopping caddy, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,060,998 issued to Phillips on Oct. 29, 1991, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. Reinforced handle regions 62 can be fashioned by folding together and sewing or otherwise securing, for instance by gluing, or melting the material forming the handle at the top of the armhole to form a compact, narrow region that fits comfortably into the palm of the hand. In some embodiments, the length of the handle region is between three to five inches and the width of the handle region is about one inch. In some embodiments, the length of the handle region is less than three inches and the width of the handle region is about one inch. In some embodiments, the length of the handle region is longer than five inches, preferably longer than seven or eight inches, such that the reusable bag may be carried as a tote bag in addition to being carried by hand. The width of the handle region can be narrower than one inch, for example, around 0.5 or 0.7 inch. Alternatively, the width of the handle region can be wider than one inch, for example, wider than 1.5, 2 or even 3 inches.

In some embodiments, the reusable bag is preferably designed and sized to be supported in an upright, open position by the rigid arms that extend from the frame of a grocery assistance rack, commonly known as “a plastic bag rack holder,” such as those presently used in nationwide supermarket chains. There are two basic types of grocery assistance devices in use today. One type utilizes supporting arms with stepped portions over which the handles of a grocery bag are stretched to hold the bag in an open, upright attitude while it is filled. For use with this type of grocery assistance device, reusable bag 60 is provided with armholes 64 dimensioned to fit the grocery assistance device. Generally, the armholes will measure between about ten and five inches when stretched tautly by placing two fingers inside the armhole and moving them apart to stretch the armhole as far as possible; e.g., until the armhold collapses to form two parallel sides. In the open position the armhole will therefore have a circumference of between about 20 and 10 inches. A second type of grocery assistance device utilizes straight, rigid arms from which the reusable bag is suspended for filling. For use with this second type of grocery assistance device, the reusable bag 60 can also be provided with internal loops having a circumference of between about five and three inches fixedly attached at opposite sides near the opening 30 of reusable bag 60. For instance, the loops can be sewn or otherwise affixed into the side seams of reusable bag 60. The loops are located such that reusable bag 60 hangs from the supporting arms within the confines of the side panels of the grocery assistance device.

In other embodiments, the bottom of reusable bag 60 is preferably constructed with squared gussets located in vertical alignment with armholes 64 so as to provide the reusable bag 60 a bottom surface having squared corners, such that the bottom surface of reusable bag 60 (not shown) forms a rectangular or square surface. Squared gussets can be formed by folding the material from which the bottom of reusable bag 60 is constructed along each side seam of reusable bag 60 to form an isosceles triangle that is symmetrically attached to each side seam of reusable bag 60 so that the point of the triangle points at the lowest point of armhole 64 and the base of the triangle is perpendicular to the side seam of reusable bag 60. One skilled in the art can devise alternate means of reusable bag 60 so as to provide a bottom surface with squared corners, for instance such as is found in many paper bags.

In some embodiments, the reusable bag 60, such as a shopping bag as shown in FIG. 14, is constructed of lightweight nylon to combine strength and ease of folding. These bags have features that enhance their usefulness to consumers interested in conserving environmental resources without sacrificing convenience. In some embodiments, the reusable bag 60 is reversible (e.g., can be turned inside out). In these embodiments, the two sides (interior and exterior sides) of reusable bag can have different print patterns or colors.

The fabric used to make the reusable bag 60 is polymeric or cellulose based in some embodiments. In some embodiments, the fabric used to make the reusable bag 60 is a natural fiber, a synthetic fiber, or a combination thereof. Examples of natural fibers include, but are not limited to, cotton, wool, flax, hemp and silk. Examples of synthetic fibers include, but are not limited to, acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polyurethane and polyvinyl fibers. Further examples of synthetic fibers also include transformed natural polymers such as acetates and rayons. The material used to make the reusable bag 60 can be single-layered or multi-layered and, if multi-layered, of the same or different film materials. Such film materials are either woven or non-woven in some embodiments. Any of the materials used to make reusable bag 60 may be from recycled or virgin sources, or some combination thereof.

In some embodiments, a lanyard is used to tether a reusable bag 60 to the compartment 10 body that houses the reusable bag when it is folded up. A lanyard can be made of any flexible, durable material, such as a small chain, fabric or elastic cording, plastic rope, and the like. To accomplish tethering of the compartment 10 to the reusable bag 60, the lanyard is either fixedly or releasably attached at each end to connect the compartment to a reusable utility or shopping bag in some embodiments. In one embodiment, a lanyard is fixedly attached to the compartment 10 by any suitable means, such as by molding it into the compartment 10 or by sewing it into an interior seam of the compartment 10, for instance near the opening 30. Alternatively, a lanyard is fixedly attached to the reusable bag 60, preferably by sewing one end of it into an interior seam, and releasably attached the compartment 10.

Thus, in one embodiment, the container system 100 with the reusable bags 60 provides a consumer with a system for conveniently storing one or more collapsible, lightweight reusable shopping bags 60 and, optionally, a shopping caddy or any relevant items. Moreover, the lanyard substantially enhances the convenience of the system by providing a means to safely store the carrier and attached car keys within the shopping bag when the shopping bag and/or shopping caddy has been withdrawn from the carrier for use and filled with purchases. Once the consumer has transported the reusable bag and purchases to the automobile, the carrier and car keys can be released from the lanyard, and withdrawn from the shopping bag to make the car keys accessible for use.

5.2 Materials Used to Make the Apparatus

The compartments and reusable bags of the present invention can be made out of a broad range of materials as long as the reusable bags are durable, lightweight, and can be folded or stuffed into compact sizes to be put inside the compartments for carrying purposes.

The compartments and reusable bags of the present invention can be made of a woven fabric, a knitted fabric or a non-woven fabric. The compartments and reusable bags of the present invention can be made of a fabric containing an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile (organic or inorganic), or a combination thereof.

As used herein, the term fabric means a planar structure produced by interlacing yarns, fibers, or filaments. As such, the fabrics used to make the compartments and bags of the present invention include, but are not limited to, bonded fabrics (or nonwoven fabrics) consisting of a web of fibers held together with a cementing medium that does not form a continuous sheet of adhesive material; a braided fabric produced by interlacing several ends of yarns such that the paths of the yarns are not parallel to the fabric axis; a knitted fabric produced by interlooping one or more ends of yarn; and/or a woven fabric produced by interlacing two or more sets of yarns, fibers, or filaments such that the elements pass each other essentially at right angles and one set of elements is parallel to the fabric axis provided that such fabrics permits transmission of a substantial amount of the light used in the treatment wavelength range.

The fibers used to form the fabrics that are used to make the compartments and bags of the present invention can be inorganic fibers, natural organic fibers or synthetic organic fibers. Representative inorganic fabrics include, but are not limited to, carbon graphite fibers, such as THORNEL®, and zirconia fibers such as Ziercar. Representative natural organic fibers include, but are not limited to, animal fibers (e.g., wool from sheep, mohair from goats, camel's hair and silk) and vegetable fibers (e.g., seed hairs such as cotton; bast fibers such as flax, hemp, jute, and ramie; and vascular fibers). In some embodiments, vegetable fibers that contain high proportions of cellulose are used. In one embodiment, mercerized cotton is used as a fiber. Mercerized cotton is cotton that has been treated with caustic soda while under tension. Examples of synthetic organic fibers that can be used in the fabrics used herein include, but are not limited to, rayons (e.g., viscose rayon, acetate rayon, cuprammonium rayon, saponified acetate rayon, high-wet modulus rayon), nylons (e.g., nylon 6,6, Nomex, and nylon 6), polyesters, acrylic fibers, modacrylic fibers, SARAN® fiber, olefin fibers (e.g., polyethylenes, polypropylenes), and TEFLON® fibers.

The fabrics of the compartments and bags disclosed herein may come from a polymeric or cellulosic sources. In some embodiments, the fabrics comprise natural fibers, synthetic fibers or combinations thereof. Examples of natural fibers include cotton, wool, flax, hemp and silk. Examples of synthetic fibers include acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polyurethane and polyvinyl fibers. Synthetic fibers may also include transformed natural polymers such as acetates and rayons. The cloth-like material may be a single layer or multiple layers of the same or different film materials that may be either woven or non-woven.

Generally, materials in the fabrics for making the compartments and bags disclosed herein are selected from the group consisting of cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, artificial silk, velvet, taffeta, TENCEL®, Piña (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, DRACON® fiber, SARAN® fiber, acetate rayon, glass fiber, basalt fiber, carbon fiber, metal fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, SPANDEX® (or elastane), Olefin fiber, polyolefin, VINYON® (or polyvinyl chloride fibers), Viscose fiber, Vicuna fiber, Sulfar (or polyphenylene sulfide), polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, INGEO® fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, LYCRA®, Lyocell fiber, Kenaf fiber, KEVLAR®, polypropylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyurethane, or Sorona polymer. In some embodiments, the fabrics used to make the compartments and bags disclosed herein are made of any of the fibers disclosed herein where such fibers are either in yarn form or are not in yarn form. Yarns is made from one or more of the fibers described herein or from other fibers known in the art using known techniques.

More details about types of fibers and characteristics of fibers that can be used to make the compartments and bags disclosed herein is found in, for example, Surface Characteristics of Fibers and Textiles (Surfactant Science) edited by Pastore and Kiekens and published by CRC on Apr. 15, 2001 edited; Natural Fibers, Plastics and Composites (Kindle Edition) by Wallenberger, published by Springer on October, 2003; Textile Fibers by Matthews and edited by Mauersberger and published by Wiley in 1947; and Von Bergen and Krauss, The Textile Atlas, Textile Book Publishers, Inc., Hess, each of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

In some embodiments, the fabrics used to make the compartments and bags disclosed herein are made from a yarn or fiber that is between 50 denier and 100 denier, between 100 denier and 800 denier, between 150 denier and 500 denier, greater than 100 denier, or less than 1000 denier, where denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. One denier defines a fabric that has the mass of 1 gram per 9,000 meters.

In some embodiments, fabrics used to make the compartments and bags disclosed herein are fabrics having mesh-like openings to achieve light weight. For instance, in some embodiments, the fabrics used to make the compartments and bags disclosed herein have mesh openings with widths in the range between about 0.2 mm to about 10 mm, between about 0.4 mm to about 6 mm, between about 0.5 mm to about 5 mm, greater than 0.2 mm or less than about 10 mm. In some embodiments, such mesh opening adopts discrete geometrical shapes. For example, in some embodiments, the mesh-like openings are hexagonal or circular in shape. Exemplary materials that include mesh like openings are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,518,798 issued to Riedel on May 21, 1996, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

6. ADDITIONAL EMBODIMENTS

Disclosed in this section are additional embodiments of the apparatus and methods.

Embodiment 1. Provided is a container system for holding one or more reusable bags. The container system comprises a compartment. Permanently affixed to this upon an exterior surface of this compartment is a first pocket and either an attachment motif or a holder. The compartment, also having an interior surface, comprises a first fabric and an opening that is dimensioned and for receiving, removing and storing one or more reusable bags within the interior of the compartment. The compartment further comprises an opening that is dimensioned and configured to have at least a first state and a second state. When the opening is in the first state, the compartment is configured for receiving a reusable bag in the interior or removing a reusable bag from the interior. When the opening is in the second state, the compartment is configured for storing a reusable bag in the interior but is not configured for receiving or removing a reusable bag from the interior. The first pocket is permanently affixed to a first portion of the exterior surface of the compartment and has a transparent portion (e.g., a clear plastic film is used as the surface of the first pocket). The first pocket is configured to receive, produce, and store a shopping list comprising a plurality of items. The transparent portion of the first pocket is configured such that, when a shopping list is stored in the first pocket, the shopping list can be read through the transparent portion of the first pocket. The transparent portion of the pocket may be only semi-transparent or non-transparent but designed with a mesh-like structure through which the shopping list can still be read.

The attachment motif is permanently affixed to a second portion of the exterior surface of the compartment or embedded in the compartment and it is configured to attach the container (and thus the container system) to an object (e.g., by using a magnet or a VELCRO® system). The optional holder is configured for receiving a pen, a key chain, a Finders Key Purse™ by using, for example, an elastic band, a ring, a loop or a similar device. Methods for using the container system are also provided. The optional holder is permanently affixed to a third portion of the exterior surface of the compartment through which a pen (or other type of writing instrument) is attachable to the compartment. Alternatively, a key finder, a key chain, or a key locator or anything the like may be attached to the compartment through a holder device.

Embodiment 2. The container system of embodiment 1, where the container system comprises the holder.

Embodiment 3. The container system of embodiment 1 or 2, where the container system comprises the attachment motif.

Embodiment 4. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 3, where the container system comprises the holder and the attachment motif.

Embodiment 5. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 4, where the first fabric is a flexible fabric that allows distortion of a shape of the compartment.

Embodiment 6. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 5, where the first fabric comprises an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile or a combination thereof.

Embodiment 7. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 6, where the first fabric comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, velvet, taffeta, Piña (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, glass fiber, basalt fiber, elastane, carbon fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, olefin fiber, polyolefin, Vicuna fiber, polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, Lyocell, Kenaf fiber, polyphenylene sulfide, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane.

Embodiment 8. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 7, where the container system comprises the attachment motif and where the attachment motif is permanently affixed to the second portion of the exterior surface of the compartment.

Embodiment 9. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 8, where the container system comprises the attachment motif and where the attachment motif is a magnet embedded in the compartment.

Embodiment 10. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 9, where the container system comprises the attachment motif and where the attachment motif is a closed elongated structure by which the container is suspended from an object.

Embodiment 11. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 10, where the compartment further comprises means of closure through which the opening of the compartment is: (i) reversibly switched from the first state to the second state; and (ii) reversibly switched from the second state to the first state.

Embodiment 12. The container system of embodiment 11, where the means of closure comprises a button, a zipper, a two layer system comprising a hook layer and a loop layer, or a shoe lace system.

Embodiment 13. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 12, further comprising a reusable bag inside the compartment, where the reusable bag comprises a second fabric.

Embodiment 14. The container system of embodiment 13, where the second fabric comprises a flexible fabric that allows the reusable bag to form a compact shape.

Embodiment 15. The container system of embodiment 13 or 14, where the second fabric comprises an animal textile, a plant textile, a mineral textile, a synthetic textile or a combination thereof.

Embodiment 16. The container system of any one of embodiments 13 through 15, where the second fabric comprises cotton, calico, satin, hessian, polycotton, bamboo, grass, jute, wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, modacrylic, viacose, cellulose, cellulose acetate, nylon, casein, flax, hemp, nettle, sisal, soybean protein fiber, Manila hemp, ramie, rayon, cellophane, silk, velvet, taffeta, Piña (pineapple fiber), Coir (coconut fiber), seaweed, modal, glass fiber, basalt fiber, elastane, carbon fiber, polyester, aramid fiber, acrylic fiber, acrylate, Abaca, olefin fiber, polyolefin, Vicuna fiber, polybenzimidazole (PBI) fiber, polyactide fiber, LUREX®, linen, Lyocell, Kenaf fiber, polyphenylene sulfide, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, or polyurethane.

Embodiment 17. The container system of any one of embodiments 13 through 16, where the first fabric comprises nylon or leather and the second fabric comprises nylon.

Embodiment 18. The container system of any one of embodiments 13 through 17, where the reusable bag comprises means for grasping and carrying the reusable bag suspended from a hand.

Embodiment 19. The container system of embodiment 18, where the means for grasping and carrying the reusable bag is a handle or a shoulder strap.

Embodiment 20. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 19, where the transparent portion of the first pocket comprises a sheer material that is substantially transparent to the human eye.

Embodiment 21. The container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 20, further comprising a second pocket, where the second pocket is inside the compartment.

Embodiment 22. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 21, where the compartment further comprises two or more holders.

Embodiment 23. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 22, where the two or more holders are located on one side of the compartment.

Embodiment 24. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 23, where the two or more holders are located on two or more sides of the compartment.

Embodiment 25. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 24, where one of the two or more holders holds a pen.

Embodiment 26. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 25, where one of the two or more holders holds a key locator.

Embodiment 27. The container system of any one of embodiments 2 through 26, where one of the two or more holders holds a pen while another of the two or more holders holds a key locator.

Another aspect provides a method for utilizing a container system of any one of embodiments 1 through 26. In the method, the compartment is set to a first state. When the opening is in this first state, the compartment is configured to receive a reusable bag in the interior. For example, the opening is set in the first state by unzipping a zipper or zipper-like device, disengaging a hook layer and a loop layer, by expending an elastic closing device, by unbuttoning a button, by releasing a hook- or clasp-like device from its holder. When the container is in the first state, a reusable bag made of a second fabric is put in the interior of the compartment. For example, the reusable bag is folded into a small and compact shape to fit the compartment. In some embodiments, pre-formed memory creases are use to help in folding the reusable bag into small and compact shapes. In some embodiments, the compartment is configured to receive more than one reusable bag in the interior. In some embodiments, two or more reusable bags are put into the interior of the compartment by any of the aforementioned methods.

The compartment can be set to a second state, for example, when it has received one or more reusable bags. When the opening is in the second state, the compartment is configured to store one or more reusable bags in its interior. Once the compartment is in the second state, it is no longer configured for receiving or removing the reusable bag from the interior. For example, the opening is set in the second state by zipping a zipper or zipper-like device, engaging a hook layer and a loop layer, by releasing an elastic closing device, by buttoning a button, or by engaging a hook- or clasp-like device to its holder.

Another aspect further provides a method for placing a shopping list in the first pocket, which is located on a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment. Alternatively, a coupon or other types of notes are placed in the first pocket. The pocket has a transparent or partially transparent portion (e.g., a surface) through which the shopping list, coupon or note can be read without taking it out of the first pocket. In some embodiments, the first pocket has a mesh-like structure. Accordingly, although its surface is not made of transparent or partially transparent material, one can still read the list, coupon or note without having to take the list, coupon or note out of the pocket.

Another aspect further provides a method for attaching the container system to an object using the attachment motif. In some embodiments, the attachment motif is a magnetic disk and the container system is attached to a surface susceptible to magnetic forces, such as the front or side surface of a refrigerator, the front of an oven, or a kitchen counter top, a door, etc. In some embodiments, the attachment motif is a loop, a string, a band, a ring, or an elastic closing device and the container system is accordingly hung, by the attachment motif, to a hook, a knob, a handle, a nail, a key holder or any other protruding objects.

Another aspect further provides a method for reviewing a shopping list through the transparent portion of the first pocket.

Another aspect further provides a method that further comprises a step of setting the compartment back to the first state. As mentioned hereinabove, the opening is set in the first state by unzipping a zipper or zipper-like device, disengaging a hook layer and a loop layer, by expending an elastic closing device, by unbuttoning a button, by releasing a hook- or clasp-like device from its holder. When the container is in the first state, a reusable bag made of a second fabric is put in the interior of the compartment.

Still another aspect provides a method that comprises a step of removing the reusable bag from the container.

For container systems further comprising a holder that is permanently affixed to an exterior surface of the compartment, the method is provided for inserting a pen or a key chain, or a key locator into the holder. An object such as a pen, a key locator, or a keychain is hung from the holder. Alternatively, when the holder is made of elastic material, and the object held by the holder is held by elastic force. Accordingly, pens of different sizes can be inserted into and held by the holder.

Another aspect provides a method for manufacturing the container system of any one of the aforementioned embodiments. This method comprises adding an attachment motif on a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment. In some embodiments, the method for manufacturing the container system of any one of embodiments of the instant invention further comprises adding a holder on another portion of the exterior surface of the compartment.

Another aspect provides additional methods for manufacturing the container system of any one of the aforementioned embodiments. The methods comprise manufacturing the compartment with an exterior surface and an interior surface, where the compartment further comprises an opening that is dimensioned and configured to have at least a first state and a second state. For example, the compartment is sewed into a shape that can receive and store one or more reusable bags. The compartment has an opening that can be set to a first state or a second state. When the opening is in the first state, the compartment is configured for receiving a reusable bag in the interior or removing a reusable bag from the interior. When the opening is in the second state, the compartment is configured for storing a reusable bag in the interior but is not configured for receiving or removing a reusable bag from the interior.

Another aspect provides a method for permanently attaching a pocket to a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment. The pocket has a transparent portion and the first pocket is permanently affixed to a first portion of the exterior surface of the compartment. In preferred embodiments, the transparent portion of the pocket is made by an acetate film. For example, the transparent film is formed by extrusion or pressing method for forming a large piece of film and then cut into appropriate sizes for the pockets on the compartments. The first pocket is configured to receive, produce, and store a shopping list comprising a plurality of items. When a shopping list is stored in the first pocket, the shopping list can be read through the transparent portion of the first pocket. Methods for permanently affixing the first pocket to the compartment include but are not limited to sewing, heat pressing, stapling, gluing, etc.

Another aspect provides a method for permanently affixing to another portion of the exterior surface of the compartment an attachment motif. For example, the attachment motif can be embedded in the compartment by methods such as sewing, pressing or gluing. The attachment motif is permanently affixed to a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment by methods such as sewing, heat pressing, stapling, etc. For example, a thin disk of magnet is permanently affixed to the compartment by embedding the disk between layers of fabrics that form the compartment. The attachment motif is configured to attach the container system to an object thereby supporting the container system when the container system is attached to an object. For example, in some embodiments the attachment motif is a magnet disk, a bilayer system with a hook layer and a loop layer, or a band, hook that is embedded, sewed, glued to the compartment.

Still another aspect provides a method for permanently affixing a holder to still another portion of the exterior surface of the compartment through which an object such as a pen, a key locator, or a keychain can be attached to the compartment, for example, by means of sewing, heat pressing, stapling or gluing may be used to permanently affix the holder to a portion of the exterior surface of the compartment. For example, in some embodiments the holder is a thin elastic band with its ends sewed between the fabric that forms the compartment thereby forming a protruding band or ring like structure.

7. REFERENCES CITED

All references cited herein are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety and for all purposes to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

8. ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

While the above description contains many specific embodiments, they should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.