Title:
Milk drip tray
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fitted tray of molded thermoplastic material to place under a one-gallon plastic container of milk is proposed. When milk is poured out from this container, a few drops inevitably drip down the side and collect at the bottom. These accumulate and often go unnoticed until collecting on the kitchen counter or refrigerator shelf, leaving an unsightly and unsanitary condition. The milk drip tray collects the milk and is washable and re-usable.



Inventors:
Peterka, Thomas (Hillside, IL, US)
Peterka, Melinda M. (Hillside, IL, US)
Application Number:
09/947165
Publication Date:
03/06/2003
Filing Date:
09/06/2001
Assignee:
PETERKA THOMAS
PETERKA MELINDA M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G23/06; B65D1/34; (IPC1-7): B65D1/34
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MEREK, JOSEPH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas Peterka (Hillside, IL, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A drip tray to collect milk which drips or spills along the outside walls of a milk container.

2. The device in claim 1 is specifically designed to fit and function with the common one-gallon milk container made of plastic.

3. The device in claim 1 is a single piece, made from injection molded thermoplastic.

4. The device in claim 1 is washable and re-useable.

5. The device in claim 1 has an integral raised portion around its periphery to contain the milk that collects in it.

6. The device in claim 1 has supporting ribs on its underside to support the weight of a gallon of milk, as well as to reduce warp and distortion from the injection molding process.

7. The device in claim 1 has a short protruding handle used for picking up the device.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Today, the vast majority of milk containers found in grocery stores are of a similar one-gallon plastic variety. They have a round mouth, are bulky, and heavy when full. These factors make it difficult to pour milk from them without dripping or spilling some. When the consumer pours milk from this container, some milk usually drips or runs down the outside wall and collects underneath. Rarely will the user wipe the outside and bottom of the container before replacing it in the refrigerator or setting it down on a table or counter. Recesses and ribs on the underside of the container also make this difficult. The result is an eventual puddle of dried and/or wet milk under the container. It is unsightly and unsanitary, and is especially a problem in the refrigerator where the milk is stored for some time.

[0002] Today's refrigerator shelves are commonly made of glass or wire racks. In the case of glass, milk collects on the glass shelf. To avoid the problem, the user would have to clean the glass shelf after nearly every use, which is not practical. Otherwise, the milk either runs off the shelf and drips onto other items in the refrigerator, or dries into an unsightly pool on the shelf. In the case of wire rack shelves, the milk collects on the wires and also drips onto the items underneath, which may not be as noticeable, but is a greater health risk. It is well known that the risks of food poisoning can be reduced through cleanliness in the kitchen, and the refrigerator is a good place to start. Similar problems occur when the milk container is used and then set onto a kitchen counter or table. The problem is more noticeable in refrigerators because they tend to be cleaned less often.

[0003] Similar problems have been solved for other applications. For example, the coaster is a drip tray used underneath drinking glasses. Other examples of drip trays also exist. It is possible that some users already place other types of trays under their milk containers to attempt to solve the above problem. We have tried this as well, but have found trays from other applications to not fit correctly, be either too small or too large, the wrong shape, or simply unwieldy and impractical. To our knowledge, the solution proposed below is the first time a tray specifically designed for the plastic one-gallon milk container has been proposed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The solution to the problem described above is to develop a milk drip tray specifically for a one-gallon plastic milk container. These containers are typically all a similar size and shape, and the milk drip tray is designed to fit nicely under the bottom and around the sides. The tray is made from molded thermoplastic material, and is washable and re-usable. It features a molded “lip” or bump running around the periphery, to contain the milk. Strengthening ribs underneath provide the necessary support to support the weight of a full gallon of milk. A short handle or tab from one corner is used to grasp the tray in order to pick it up. The tray features rounded corners, and is an attractive and practical solution. The user would place the tray in the refrigerator shelf or elsewhere (for example, kitchen counter or table) before setting down the gallon of milk. The user picks up the container, dispenses the milk, leaving the tray where it was. When the user replaces the milk container to the tray, any drops that are trickling down the outside walls will collect in the tray. After a time, for example when the milk container is empty, the tray is washed and re-used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0005] FIG. 1: Shaded perspective view of the top of the part

[0006] FIG. 2: Shaded perspective view of the underside of the part

[0007] FIG. 3: Top (plan) view of the part

[0008] FIG. 4: Front (elevation) view of the part

[0009] FIG. 5: Section A-A, as indicated in FIG. 3

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The milk drip tray consists of just one part, the tray, which is injection molded from a quality plastic. As indicated in FIG. 3, the body is approximately 6¾ inches square, which is the right size to fit a one-gallon plastic milk container. As indicated in FIG. 4, it is approximately ½ inch tall. The basic profile is a flat middle area with a raised bump or “lip” around the edges. This keeps the milk inside of the tray. A network of strengthening ribs spans the underside of the part. Their purpose is to support the weight of the gallon of milk, and to prevent warp and distortion from the molding process. A short handle protrudes from one corner. This allows the tray to be pickup up. The handle has a hole to allow the tray to be hung on a hook for storage. A small spherical recess or “dimple” appears in the center of the part. This is a function of the injection molding process; it is a place for the “gate”, which is an injection molding term for the place where the plastic enters the part. The finished plastic molded part will have a small protrusion or bump at the gate location. Placing this in a small recess ensures that the resulting protrusion is not higher that the original level of the floor of the tray. The tray features smooth rounded corners which are easy to clean, and it is envisioned that the finish of the part would be an attractive polished plastic, which is also easy to clean. Optionally, the outer lip may be textured to make it easier to hold, as well as for aesthetics.