Title:
Waste material solidification pouch
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A liquid-soluble sealed pouch is disclosed having a pre-measured volume of crystalline form super absorbent polymer (SAP) solidifying agent therein which allows a known volume of liquid waste material to be solidified by the inclusion of a known number of such pouches into the waste material without the user having to directly place the bulk absorbent/solidifying agent therein.



Inventors:
Altmayer, Scott Anthony (Mentor, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/753039
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/07/2004
Assignee:
ALTMAYER SCOTT ANTHONY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D65/46; B65D85/84; (IPC1-7): B65D85/84
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VYTAS R. MATAS (PEPPER PIKE, OH, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A pouch for use in solidifying waste material having a liquid content comprising: a sealed pouch containing a predetermined amount of liquid solidifying material to prevent contact of the user with the solidifying material: and said pouch being formed from liquid-soluble material to allow disintegration of said pouch when it is placed into the waste material.

2. A pouch as set forth in claim 1 where said solidifying material is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-polluting, non-biodegradable crystalline material.

3. A pouch as set forth in claim 2 where said solidifying material is a super absorbent polymer (SAP).

4. A pouch as set forth in claim 3 where said pouch is formed from Meterpak PVOH film®.

5. A pouch as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pouch has a label listing the amount of solidifying material contained therein and the volume of liquid waste that amount of solidifying material will solidify to optimize the amount of material used to solidify a known volume of waste product.

6. A storage means for holding solidifying material used for solidifying waste material for solid disposal according to EPA approved disposal comprising: a waterproof container having a closure means for containment of liquid solidifying material; a plurality of sealed water soluble pouches each containing a predetermined amount of solidifying material located in said waterproof container; and a label located on said waterproof container listing the solidifying capabilities of said predetermined amounts of solidifying material in each of said pouches contained therein to allow an optimized use of the pouches in said container to solidify a known amount of waste material.

7. A storage means as set forth in claim 5 wherein said plurality of pouches includes pouches containing varying amounts of solidifying material to allow a optimal use of pouches to solidify a known amount of liquid containing material for solid disposal.

8. A storage means as set forth in claim 7 wherein said plurality of pouches includes pouches containing 5 grams, 15 grams, 30 grams, 60 grams and 240 grams of solidifying material.

9. A storage means as set forth in claim 8 where said solidifying material is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-polluting, non-biodegradable crystalline material.

10. A storage means as set forth in claim 9 where said solidifying material is a super absorbent polymer (SAP).

11. A storage means as set forth in claim 10 where each of said pouches are formed from polyvinyl alcohol water-soluble synthetic polymer film.

12. A storage means as set forth in claim 11 where said known amount of waste material is paint and the ratio of solidifying material for same is approximately 30 grams per half gallon of paint.

13. A storage means as set forth in claim 12 where said solidifying material is stirred in said paint to more quickly solidify said paint.

14. A storage means as set forth in claim 13 where a half-gallon of paint is stirred for 15 seconds to solidify same.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This patent application claims the benefit of the filing date of Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/1442,857 filed Jan. 27, 2003.

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention generally relates to material used to solidify waste material such as liquid waste and more particularly to such material being packaged in sealed containers.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Today, water-based residues such as paint, waste and lab residues are required to meet facility, city, state, and Federal regulatory requirements for proper handling and burial of such industrial, hazardous, biological, or radioactive residues. Conventional absorbents and solidifiers often pose excessive or unacceptable hazards and costs.

[0006] Existing methods to solidify spent aqueous liquids, paint, stain, lab residues, pharmaceutical residues, hazardous lab waste, or equivalent use large amounts (i.e. 100%-200% weight of liquid) of unmeasured bulk absorbent (including but not limited to, kitty litter, vermiculite, clay, dirt) in an open setting that can expose workers and/or the public to undue hazards and carcinogens contained in some types of absorbent or solidifying materials.

[0007] Crystalline materials for solidifying waste products are known. Such materials are usually found in crystalline non-biodegradable form. One such material is WaterWorks Crystals® super absorbent polymer (SAP) manufactured by WaterWorks America, Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio. Equivalent materials are also available from other companies. A Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is available which describes the chemical and safety features of these crystals. SAP is a dense polyacrylate chemical having a bulk specific gravity of about 0.7 (raw material specific gravity=1.05) and has many uses in the present markets including human health care products, medicines, disposable baby diapers, agricultural water retention, sludge/waste dewatering, underwater electrical cable installation, and home crafts/decorations. SAPs can absorb and solidify tens to hundreds of times their weight in aqueous liquid so that the liquid becomes a solid, for example, as defined by passing the US EPA Paint Filter Test SW-846 Method 9095. These crystals come packaged in large bulk containers and require the user to determine the amount to use for their application as well as being messy to install into the process used requiring the user to scoop out the crystals from the container and place them into the process being solidified using a trial and error method.

[0008] What was needed and found nowhere was a prepackaged container having the solidifying crystals pre-measured for particular application volumes and being capable of being placed or blended into the application along with the crystal container thus requiring no direct handling by the users of the solidifying material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention comprises the combination of two items. A safe, pre-measured, non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-polluting, liquid soluble pouch for safe handling by the user and pre-measured volumes of super absorbent polymer (SAP) such as sodium/potassium polyacrylate sealably contained in the sealed pouch to provide a neat, clean, safe small volume method that improves the simplicity and safety of solidifying, handling, managing, shipping, and/or burying aqueous residues.

[0010] Since SAP can absorb and solidify many times their own weight in liquid they meet the general objectives of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and disposal sites to minimize the amount of waste and obviate the need of using large quantities of bulk, dusty, or unsafe absorbents to dewater and/or solidify water-based residues.

[0011] The pouches are manufactured by loading pre-measured (5-500 grams) of SAP into water-soluble film that is then heat-sealed or sewn. The water-soluble film may be labeled/stenciled with a listing of information such as the amount of solidifying material contained therein, the solidifying capability of that amount of solidifying material, appropriate product, safety, and/or company contact information. These pre-measured pouches are placed into lidded watertight tubs (8 fl.oz.-64 fl.oz.) or bags and packaged into boxes for shipping and distribution. The typical preferred baseline fabricated pouch is a nominal 2″×2″×⅛″ pouch fabricated from Meterpak PVOH Film® containing approximately 15 grams of WaterWorks Crystals® SAP. The inventor recognizes that other patented and/or trademarked components for water-soluble films and SAP exist for a host of other applications, which are also capable of being used for the present application.

[0012] Specific application of these sealed, pre-measured, SAP filled pouches is anticipated to be in the areas of safely managing spent residues or waste such as paint/stain residues, lab samples, medical wastes, industrial waste, airline waste, pharmaceutical development, drug testing, container leakage, etc.

[0013] In view of the foregoing it will be seen that one aspect of the present invention is to provide a system of easily solidifying a known volume of liquid waste without the user having to measure and handle the bulk solidifying agents.

[0014] Another aspect is to provide a liquid-soluble solidifying agent sealed container having a known amount of agent therein for solidifying a listed amount of liquid waste to optimize the solidifying process.

[0015] These and other aspects of the present invention will be more fully understood upon review of the following description of the preferred environment when considered along with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] In the drawings wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a side view of an example plastic container for holding a plurality of the liquid soluble pouches having a predetermined volume of solidifying material therein with the different size of pouches listed outside the container along with the capability of each pouch to solidify a listed volume of liquid waste.

[0018] FIG. 2 is a top view of a paint can having two typical pouches of the present invention just thrown in to solidify approximately ½ gallon of the water-based paint.

[0019] FIG. 3 is a top view of the FIG. 2 paint can showing the paint solidified after stirring for an elapsed time of 15 sec (after being stirred by hand for 15 seconds).

[0020] FIG. 4a shows a ½ liter beaker of liquid waste (i.e. urine) before any pouches are thrown in.

[0021] FIG. 4b shows the same container having solidified the liquid waste in FIG. 4a in less then 5 min. after one typical pouch was thrown in with no stirring.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the pouches of the present invention have been manufactured in several sizes depending on the market and end user needs. In general, the pouches are manufactured in several sizes to contain SAP material that include but are not limited to the following weights: 5 gram, 15 gram, 30 gram, 60 gram, or 240 gram contained in differing pouch sizes from 1″×1″×{fraction (1/16)}″ to 2″×2″×4″. The pre-measured pouches are placed into wide-rimmed lidded watertight containers/tubs (12) ranging in size from 8 fl. oz. to 64 fl.oz. Bulk plastic bags may also be used instead of the containers depending on market demand and end user needs for shipping and distribution.

[0023] The standard tub (12) has a label (13) which lists its contents, the appropriate pouch size, the liquid solidifying capability of each pouch, and use/safety guidance. The standard tub (12) may contain a plurality of differing size pouches namely 5 gram pouches (14) each solidifying approximately 1 cup of liquid waste, 15 gram pouches (10) each solidifying approximately 1 liter of liquid waste, 30 gram pouches (16) each solidifying approximately 2 liters of liquid waste, or 240 gram pouches (18) each solidifying approximately 4 gallons of liquid waste. Thus, when a person has a waste product and knows the liquid content thereof and the volume of liquid in the waste product one merely drops the required amount of pouches to meet the liquid content of the waste. This optimizes the solidification of the waste product without using an unnecessary amount of solidifying agent. This makes the process cost effective and minimizes the volume of waste product used and disposed.

[0024] The present typical baseline design to fabricate pouches is a nominal 2″×2″×⅛″ pouch (10) but it and the other size pouches are all fabricated from polyvinyl water-soluble material such as Meterpak PVOH Film® or an equivalent. The pouches and containers may each have labels (13,15) listing the type, weight content of the SAP material along with its liquid solidifying volume or other pertinent manufacturer information.

[0025] The pre-measured pouches (10,14,16,18) are placed into the wide-rimmed lidded water-tight containers/tubs (12) or bulk plastic bags for shipping and distribution. Distribution will occur in bulk bags (600 ct., 1,000 ct. or 2,000 ct.) or boxes 2 ea.-12 ea. per box/case.

[0026] Specific application of the pouches is anticipated to be in the areas of safely managing spent residues or waste such as: paint/stain residues, lab samples, medical wastes, industrial waste, airline waste, pharmaceutical development, drug testing, container leakage etc. The pouch is an efficient improvement to existing methods to solidify spent aqueous liquids, paint, stain, lab residues, pharmaceutical residues, hazardous lab waste, or equivalent where historic precedent is to use large amounts (i.e. 100%-200% weight of liquid) of unmeasured amounts of bulk absorbent (including but not limited to, kitty litter, vermiculite, clay, dirt) in an open setting that can expose workers and/or the public to undue hazards and carcinogens contained in some types of absorbent/solidifying material.

[0027] The preferred solidifying component (the solidifying agent) is non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-polluting, non-biodegradable Waterworks Crystals® super absorbent polymer (SAP) manufactured by WaterWorks America, Inc. (North Royalton, Ohio). Examples of patented/trademarked alternates include, but are not limited to, Stockosorb, Favor C, DOW XU43408, WaterLock, Aquasorbe, or Liquisorb.

[0028] The preferred material for the pouch is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-polluting, biodegradable polyvinyl alcohol film such as Meterpak PVOH Film® manufactured by Meterpak, Inc. Examples of patented/trademarked alternates include, but are not limited to, Dissolvo or Embroiderback.

[0029] As seen in FIG. 2 a particular type of liquid waste material is shown which requires solidification for disposal. This material is paint. A half-gallon of water-based paint (20) appears therein with two typical pouches (10) thrown in. The paint (20) was stirred for 15 seconds and quickly solidified, as seen in FIG. 3, within 15 minutes. The same can of paint (20) if unstirred solidified after sitting for 3-4 hours.

[0030] As seen in FIG. 4a, another type of pure liquid waste is shown as a ½ liter beaker of urine (22). This was solidified in less than 5 minutes, as seen in FIG. 4b, after one typical pouch (10) was thrown in without stirring.

[0031] It will be understood that certain modifications, additions etc. obvious to those skilled in this art area were deleted herein for the sake of conciseness and readability but are intended to be included in the scope of the following claims.