Title:
Debris collecting device and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A debris collecting device for gathering and moving quantities of debris comprising of a pliable, flexible material of sufficient size, and a plurality of elongated support members of substantially equal length. The debris collecting device is operated by a person. The debris collecting device is put over the pile of debris and the elongated support members are brought underneath the debris and then the debris collection device can be maneuvered into position for carrying and or disposal.



Inventors:
West, Scott R. (Elliot, ME, US)
Bolduc, Paul (Dover, NH, US)
Application Number:
10/135940
Publication Date:
10/30/2003
Filing Date:
04/29/2002
Assignee:
WEST R. SCOTT
BOLDUC PAUL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B67/12; B65F1/00; (IPC1-7): B65B11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Davidson, Davidson & Kappel, LLC (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A debris collection device, which collects the debris from the top comprising: a sheet of flexible pliable material for covering a pile of debris; a plurality of elongated support members of substantially equal length; and means for joining said elongated support members to said flexible pliable material.

2. The debris collection device as recited in claim 1 wherein said elongated support members each are less than 2.0 meters long.

3. The debris collection device as recited in claim 2 wherein said elongated support members each are less than 1.5 meters long.

4. The debris collection device as recited in claim 1 wherein the flexible pliable material is less than 2.0 meters wide.

5. The debris collection device as recited in claim 1 wherein said flexible, pliable material is made of polyethylene.

6. The debris collection device as recited in claim 1 further comprising a hinge connecting a first of the plurality of elongated support members to a second of the elongated support members.

7. The debris collection device as recited in claim 6 wherein the first and second elongated support members have angled ends.

8. A debris collection device comprising: a sheet of flexible material having a first side edge and a second side edge; a width between the first and second side edges being less than two meters and a length of the first and second side edges each being less than two meters; a first rigid support member attached to the first side edge; and a second rigid support member attached to the second side edge, the first and second rigid support members capable of being brought together so that the sheet of flexible material encircles debris.

9. A method for collecting debris comprising the steps of: placing a debris collecting device having a sheet of flexible material having a first side edge and a second side edge, a first rigid support member attached to the first side edge and a second rigid support member attached to the second side edge manually over a pile of debris; manually moving the first rigid support member and the second rigid support member together so as to encircle at least a portion of the pile of debris; and manually transporting the debris collecting device using the first and second rigid support members.

10. The method as recited in claim 9 wherein the steps are performed by a single person.

11. The method as recited in claim 9 wherein the steps are performed by two people.

12. The method as recited in claim 9 further comprising dumping the debris by releasing one of the support members.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to debris collecting devices.

[0002] Typical debris collecting devices for gathering and moving quantities of landscaping debris collect the debris from the side or bottom. Typical tools used are rakes, or rake-like devices. U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,640 to Tyrell (1996) discloses a complex landscaping debris collecting device comprising a right and left plate member, each having an inside and outside face. Each member has a rake end and a contoured end, the contoured end of which is secured inside the palm of one's hand. The right and left plate members are used to collect the quantities of debris by bringing together the right and left plates and sandwiching together landscaping debris. These collection devices only pick up small piles of debris.

[0003] U.S. Pat. No. 4,378,670 (Mathias) discloses a hand scoop for grass and leaves which are operated by a person's hands and assembles the debris for lifting from the side. This device is not well suited for larger debris piles.

[0004] Thus for large piles of debris the devices are disadvantageous. Also being relatively clumsy and small, the devices are of little or no use for larger sticks and branches.

[0005] Several types of tarp loaders have been proposed to collect debris. U.S. Pat. No. 5,573,365 (Michalski) discloses a complex tarp loading method which requires the debris to be put on the tarp before it is useful. This along with the requirement for an attached receptacle makes this method unpractical for a typical homeowner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Objects of the present invention include:

[0007] (a) to provide a debris removal system that eliminates the need to rake debris onto a removal device, after the debris has already been piled;

[0008] (b) to provide a debris removal device which in one operation will load and transport the debris;

[0009] (c) to provide a debris removal device which by a single operation of loading and transporting large piles of debris will increase the efficiency of the debris removal operation;

[0010] (d) to provide a debris removal device that will remove not only small sized debris, but also larger sized debris;

[0011] (e) to provide a debris removal device that can be manufactured for single person operation;

[0012] (f) to provide a debris removal device that can be manufactured for multiple person operation;

[0013] (g) to provide a debris removal device that can be brightly colored; and/or

[0014] (h) to provide a debris removal device that can be labeled for advertisement.

[0015] The present invention thus provides a debris collection device, which collects the debris from the top comprising:

[0016] a sheet of flexible pliable material of sufficient size for covering a pile of debris;

[0017] a plurality of elongated support members of substantially equal length; and means for joining said elongated support members to said flexible pliable material.

[0018] The elongated support members may be hinged at one end.

[0019] Preferably, the elongated support member is less than two meters long, and most preferably shorter than 1.5 meters to permit single person operation. The width of the pliable material between the two support members preferably is also less than two meters.

[0020] The pliable material may be porous, such as a netting, but preferably is solid so that debris is not caught in the porous materials and so that advertising may be printed on the material. Preferably, the material is made of polyethylene.

[0021] Preferably, the elongated support members protrude past the flexible, pliable material for easy grasping.

[0022] The device may further include a hinge to connect the support members, making single person operation easier.

[0023] The present invention also provides a debris collection device comprising:

[0024] a sheet of flexible material having a first side edge and a second side edge;

[0025] a width between the first and second side edges being less than two meters and a length of the first and second side edges each being less than two meters;

[0026] a first rigid support member attached to the first side edge; and

[0027] a second rigid support member attached to the second side edge.

[0028] Unlike simple tarpaulins used for debris collection, the present invention permits the debris to be collected from the top due to the rigid support members at the side edges.

[0029] The present invention also provides a method for collecting debris comprising:

[0030] placing a debris collecting device having a sheet of flexible material having a first side edge and a second side edge, a first rigid support member attached to the first side edge and a second rigid support member attached to the second side edge manually over a pile of debris;

[0031] manually moving the first rigid support member and the second rigid support member together so as to encircle at least a portion of the pile of debris; and

[0032] manually carrying the debris collecting device using the first and second rigid support members.

[0033] The debris may then be dumped by separating the first rigid support member and the second rigid support member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0034] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in the drawings, in which:

[0035] FIG. 1 shows a debris removal device according to the present invention the flexible pliable material.

[0036] FIGS. 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d show the progression of the preferred method according to the present invention.

[0037] FIG. 3 shows the elongated members having a similar length.

[0038] FIG. 4 shows the flexible pliable material with sewing lines.

[0039] FIG. 5a shows an alternate embodiment with a hinge in a partially closed position.

[0040] FIG. 5b shows the embodiment of FIG. 5a fully open.

[0041] FIG. 5c shows the hinge of the embodiment of FIG. 5a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0042] FIG. 1 shows the debris removal device 10 having a solid flexible material 12, and a first rigid support 13 and a second rigid support 14. The flexible material 12 may be connected to the rigid supports 13, 14 by any connection means, for example, by stitches 15 creating a tube at the edge of the material 12 in which a support is firmly held. Alternately, glue, screws, nails, or other fasteners may be used to attach the rigid supports.

[0043] Grip areas 20, 21 of the supports preferably extend beyond the flexible material 12, so that supports 13, 14 are easily gripped. Supports 13, 14 may be made of wood or plastic, for example.

[0044] FIG. 2a shows the debris removal device covering a pile of debris, preferably lawn debris such as dead leaves.

[0045] FIG. 2b shows the debris removal devices plurality of elongated support members brought together to encircle and collect the debris. FIG. 2c shows the debris removal device in its carrying position. FIG. 2d shows the debris removal device in its emptying position.

[0046] FIG. 3 shows a plurality of elongated support members 13, 14 of substantially equal length.

[0047] FIG. 4 shows the flexible pliable material 12 with the sewing lines, which provide access for the elongated support member. Each member is held by the overlap lap of flexible pliable material, which is sewn together manufacturing an area of limited movement for the elongated support.

[0048] FIGS. 5a, b and c shows an alternate embodiment in which elongated support members 113 and 114 are connected by a hinge 115 having a first wing 116 and a second wing 117. Support members 113, 114 support a trapezoidal-shaped flexible pliable material 112. The first and second wings 116, 117 can be attached for example by screws to angled ends of the respective support members 113, 114.

[0049] Advantages of the debris collecting device include:

[0050] (a) a majority of the time spent cleaning up debris is involved in picking up the small often-raked piles. The present device and method for removing the pile from the top makes this process more efficient.

[0051] (b) transporting debris in tarps, wheelbarrows or other mechanisms is difficult and cumbersome, the present device and method allows the debris to easily be moved.

[0052] (c) dumping the debris is typically an additional step that must be taken with conventional techniques. The present device and method can dump the debris by maneuvering one of the supports.

[0053] (d) The presence of a wide area of the flexible pliable material permits the debris removal device to be manufactured in company colors as well as with company logos applied.

[0054] The manner of using the debris removal device is different from conventional techniques. The debris must be first collected into a pile, the bigger the pile the more efficient the debris collection device will be. After collection of the debris into a pile, a user manually covers the debris pile with the debris collection device. This is done by putting one of the elongated support members on one side of the debris pile. The other elongated support member should be extended over the debris pile as far as possible as shown in FIG. 2a. Next the user takes the elongated support members and drags them along the ground or brings them together and under at least a part of the debris until the support members are held together as shown in FIG. 2b. To lift the debris for carrying, the user holds the elongated support members together and brings them away from the ground toward the user as shown in FIG. 2c. This position is also used to carry the debris. To dump the debris once the user has located the correct location, the user lets go of one of the elongated support members and the debris falls into the desired location as shown in FIG. 2d.

[0055] The debris collection device invention can be used to pick up debris very easily, and can be used to transport larger amount of debris and dump debris with more efficiency than with conventional techniques. Furthermore, the debris collection device has the additional advantages in that:

[0056] It can be manufactured for single person use.

[0057] It can be manufactured for multiple person use.

[0058] It can be manufactured in bright colors.

[0059] It can be used for advertisement of company logos.

[0060] It can carry larger debris such as sticks, branches, as well as more debris than conventional techniques.

[0061] It uses fewer operations to move the same amount of material using a conventional tarp and raking onto it.

[0062] Although the description above describes preferred embodiments, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the debris collecting device can have other shapes, such as trapezoidal, triangular, rectangular, etc. The elongated members can be hinged, or be made of two pieces for easy storage.

[0063] Thus the scope of the present invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.