Title:
Collapsible holder for supporting a plastic bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A holder of cardboard or other inexpensive material which is collapsible and which in the erected position will support a t-shirt bag so it may be used to contain waste. Hangers in the form of knock-outs in the container or hook attachments are associated with the end walls to retain the bag. Once filled, the bag may be easily unhooked and replaced with a new bag. The container has surfaces for advertising or other graphic information.



Inventors:
Hardesty, Laurence D. (Buckeye, AZ, US)
Application Number:
09/768132
Publication Date:
07/25/2002
Filing Date:
01/23/2001
Assignee:
HARDESTY LAURENCE D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/02; B65D5/36; B65D5/60; B65F1/06; (IPC1-7): B65D35/14; B65D90/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOY, JOSEPH MAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gregory J. Nelson (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A holder for supporting t-shirt type merchandise bags for reuse for waste collection, said holder comprising: (a) a box having opposite end walls, a front wall and side walls; said walls joined at foldable edges; and (b) hanger means associated with said opposite end walls.

2. The holder of claim 1 wherein said hanger comprises general U-shaped punch out sections in said walls.

3. The holder of claim 1 wherein said hanger comprises a notch in said end walls adjacent said foldable edges.

4. The holder of claim 1 wherein said box is fabricated from the group of materials consisting of paperboard, cardboard, fiberboard or corrugated composite board.

5. The holder of claim 1 wherein said hanger comprises a hook having a first wall of a first length having an upper edge and a second wall connected thereto at a channel, said second wall being of a second length less than the first wall and having a hook at its upper end engageable over an edge of the box.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a holder and more particularly relates to a container for supporting a plastic bag such as the t-shirt-style bag in an open position so that it may be used to receive waste and trash.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Today, many retail stores, particularly super markets, utilize both plastic and paper bags for sacking purchased items. One of the most common type of plastic bags utilized is a bag sometimes termed “t-shirt” bag because it is provided with handles extending from the upper end. When consumers return home and empty the contents of the bag, plastic bags are either discarded or placed in a recycling container, or, in many cases, are used as disposable garbage and trash bags. In the past, these bags were generally placed as liners within conventional metal or plastic trash containers and, when filled with trash, removed and placed with another liner or bag. The difficulty was that no convenient way existed to attach the bags to the outer trash container. Therefore, a consumer would have to attempt to stretch them in a manner to secure them along the top lip or edge of the trash container which did not always work well due to of the absence of any means for attaching the bag. Often the sides of the bags were substantially smaller than the waste container and could not easily be made to stretch or fit the top opening of the waste container and would disengage and collapse once trash or garbage was attempted to be place din the bag creating a mess.

[0003] Accordingly, a need developed for a device that would allow the consumer to utilize plastic bags of this type as disposable garbage bags which device would maintain the bag in an open position. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,535,919 shows a trash can or attachment that is designed to accept a plastic bag handle having two loops separated by cross-members which loops protrude vertically upward from the opening of the container. Certain disadvantages are attended to this device in that it does not fit on all waste containers and the upwardly extending loops would interfere with the type of container having a closeable lid.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 4,763,808 describes a bag support with an elevated cross-member that accepts the bag handle. A somewhat similar disadvantages are attended to this device.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,584 describes a device for attaching a plastic to an existing trash container. The device is to be positioned at the top rim of the trash container having hooks and attached to the top rim of the container. Another pair of hooks support the bag. The device will fit on containers of various shapes.

[0006] Thus, while devices of the type shown above are somewhat effective for their intended use of allowing a consumer to utilize plastic bags as trash containers, they often must be used with or adapted to an existing container. This requires the consumer to have or purchase a container of a size that will conform to the size of the bags. Further, these designs which utilize a permanent waste container do not lend themselves to use in promotional programs such as programs promoting conservation, environmental protection or other advertising or graphics.

[0007] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a container that can be inexpensively manufactured and allows the consumer to re-use a retail plastic bag as disposable garbage bag.

[0008] It is also an object of the present invention to provide a container that will maintain a plastic bag in an open position so that it may easily accept garbage and trash. It is also an object of the present invention to provide a container to which a t-shirt-type bag may be easily attached and detached.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a container that may be collapsed to a compact position when not in use.

[0010] It is an important object of the present invention to provide a container to which graphic messages may be provided.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] Briefly, the present invention provides a container that can be fabricated from inexpensive materials such as fiber board, card board or plastic. The container has front and rear walls and opposite end walls. The walls are joined along vertical joints which allow the container to be folded to a compact, flat position when not in use. When erected or assembled, the container is generally rectangular or square. The opposite end walls are provided with hangers to which the handle portion of the t-shirt bag may be easily attached and held in an open position to receive trash. When the bag is filled, the bag may easily removed and replaced with another bag. The hangers may be in the form of notches, punchouts, or elongated S-type hooks engaged on the opposite end walls. The front, rear and side walls may be imprinted with various graphic designs or messages such as advertising, promotional or environmental messages. The construction of the device is inexpensive so the device may be provided to the consumer at low cost or even, in some cases, given to the consumer as a promotional item thereby encouraging conservation and recycling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The above objects and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 is perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the container of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a top view showing the container in a collapsed position;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a detail view of a portion of the container of FIG. 1 as indicated by the encircled area in FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 4 is an end view showing an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 5 is an end view of yet another embodiment of the container of the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

[0019] FIG. 7 is a partial side view of the embodiment of FIG. 4;

[0020] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the hanger shown in FIGS. 5 and 6; and

[0021] FIG. 9 is a view showing a representative merchandise bag of the type generally termed a “t-shirt” bag.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 9 illustrates a typical merchandise bag of the type commonly used by retail stores and grocery stores. The bag is designated by the numeral 10 is made of a light weight plastic material and has a body 12 which typically opens to form an article receiving compartment measuring approximately 8″ by 12″. A pair of handles 14, 14A extend from the upper edge of the bag for the convenience of the user. As indicated, these bags are commonly called “t-shirt” bags because of the appearance of the handles which are similar to certain styles of t-shirts.

[0023] Turning now to FIGS. 1 and 2. The bag 10 is shown supported in a waste receiving position within container 20. Container 20 is shown having front wall 22, rear wall 24 and opposite end walls 26 and 28. The front wall 22 is hingedly connected to the end walls at vertical edges 25, 25A. Similarly, the rear wall 24 is hingedly connected to the end walls 26 and 28 at vertical edges 25B and 25C. The dimensions of the container may vary, but typically the end walls will be approximately 16 to 10 inches wide and the front walls between 10 and 18 inches. The walls form an interior bag-receiving compartment 32.

[0024] The material of the container may vary but it is preferably an inexpensive material made readily available material such as cardboard, fiber board or a plastic, or a combination of such materials.

[0025] When the container 20 is not in use, it may be folded or collapsed to the compact position shown in FIG. 2. The user may manually unfold or erect the container to the use position shown in FIG. 1. The container may have an open bottom or may be provided with a bottom panel. Preferably if the container has a bottom and is a type of bottom which will unfold into position as the container is erected. This feature is designated an auto bottom.

[0026] Hangers are provided to secure the bag handles 14, 14A to the opposite end walls 26 and 28. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the hangers in a preferred embodiment of the invention comprise slots 40 which extend from the upper edge of the end walls downwardly. Preferably the slots are formed having a projection 42 and an opening 44 to the upper edge. In this way, the handle can be inserted through the opening 44 and received in the slot. The projection 42 will prevent the handle from slipping from the slot as items are placed into the open bag. The hangers are positioned at opposite edges adjacent the comers of the container so as to hold the bag in a fully open position.

[0027] FIGS. 4 and 7 show another embodiment of the invention with the hangers being formed as part of the end walls 24 and 28. The hangers are shown as somewhat U-shaped punched-out areas 50 and 52. The punched-out areas can be manually forced outwardly as shown in FIG. 7 to form projections which will grasp the portion of the handle of 14 or 14A when extended over the upper edge of the end walls.

[0028] FIGS. 5, 6 and 8 show another embodiment of the present invention in which each of the end walls 24 and 28 is provided with an elongate hook 60 formed from metal or plastic by extrusion or bending. The elongate hook 60 is somewhat S-shaped so that it can be secured over the upper edge of the end walls having a wall 62 which will extend substantially across the end wall. The upper end of the wall 62 may curve inwardly at 64 for safety and for aesthetic consideration. A hook 66 is integrally formed with wall 62 and will frictionally engage the upper edge of the end walls and a bag receiving channel 72 extends between wall 62 and hook 66. The hook 66 is displaced or recessed from the sides of the wall 62. In this way, the wall 62 will extend substantially across the upper edge of the container end walls 26 and 28. Preferably the end walls are notched at opposite corners as indicated by the numeral 70 so the handles of the suspended bag 12 will extend through the notches 70 along the channel 72 and will be hidden or obscured by the wall 62.

[0029] As best seen in FIG. 1, one or more surfaces of the walls 22, 24, 26 and 28 can be provided with suitable graphics or decorative material or advertising. Typical graphics might include advertising in the event the container is provided to the consumer as a promotional item. Theme material such as information relating to environment or recycling can also be provided. Alternatively, other types of graphics such as calendars, humorous slogans, decorative scenery, flowers or even graphics for games of various types such as a checker board may be imprinted on the surface.

[0030] As indicated above, the container is made in a manner in constructive material so that it can be manufactured inexpensively to provide to the consumer as a free promotional item or at low cost. The device can be collapsed to an out-of-the-way position for storage. Because of its low cost, if the container becomes damaged or soiled, it can be replaced at low cost.

[0031] It will be obvious to those skilled in the art to make various changes, alterations and modifications to the invention described herein. To the extent such changes, alterations and modifications do not depart from the spirit and scope of the appended claims, they are intended to be encompassed therein.