Title:
Smoking-waste receptacle with disposable container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A receptacle for receiving smoking waste includes a base, a cap configured to be connected to the base, and a disposable container. The container is configured to be inserted into the base to receive and collect smoking waste. An opening in the cap permits a user to insert smoking waste. The opening connects to a passage which permits the smoking waste to fall into the disposable container. When the receptacle is to be cleaned or emptied, the cap is removed from the base and the container is removed. The container may be sealed shut and disposed of, preventing a user from lifting heavy buckets or touching any smoking waste.



Inventors:
Presnell, Donald C. (Stephens City, VA, US)
Bennett, Eric D. (Winchester, VA, US)
Jhaveri, Samir N. (Winchester, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/864861
Publication Date:
01/27/2005
Filing Date:
06/10/2004
Assignee:
Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F19/02; (IPC1-7): A24D1/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, PHU HOANG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A receptacle for receiving smoking waste comprising: a base; a cap configured to be connected to the base; and a disposable, noncombustible container for receiving smoking waste and configured to be removably inserted in the base.

2. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the base is configured to house the container.

3. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the cap includes a cover portion, an opening in the cover portion, and a passage that connects the opening to the container.

4. The receptacle of claim 3, wherein the cap includes a flow-inhibiting structure in the passage to inhibit smoke from exiting the receptacle.

5. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the cap includes a cover portion and a recess in the cover portion for receiving ash and snuffing out smoking waste.

6. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the cap includes a cover portion with a maximum diameter and a throat portion of smaller maximum diameter to form a lower edge on the cover portion, the base includes a rim, and the throat portion is configured to fit within the rim such that the lower edge rests on the rim.

7. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein a connector is provided to connect the cap to the base such that the cap can pivot between an open position and a closed position.

8. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the base includes a post that projects upwardly from the base and the disposable container includes an opening into which the post extends to hold the disposable container within the base.

9. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the container is configured to be connected to the cap.

10. The receptacle of claim 9, wherein the cap includes a channel and a portion of the container can be fit into the channel to connect the container to the cap.

11. The receptacle of claim 9, wherein the container includes a flexible portion that is directly connected to the cap.

12. The receptacle of claim 9, wherein the container includes a closure device to connect the container to the cap.

13. The receptacle of claim 9, wherein the cap includes a cover portion with a maximum diameter and a throat portion of smaller maximum diameter, and the container is connected to the throat portion.

14. The receptacle of claim 1, wherein the container includes a closure device to seal the container.

15. The receptacle of claim 14, wherein the container includes at least a portion that is flexible, and the closure device is provided in the flexible portion of the container.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional application No. 60/477,051 filed Jun. 10, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a receptacle for smoking waste, such as cigarette butts or cigar butts. Although smoking has been found to lead to many health problems, a significant percentage of the population still smokes. In the United States alone, studies for the American Heart Association have indicated an average of 22% of adults in the United States smoke cigarettes. Conventional ash trays, which were common in households of adult smokers, are being used less now that families are aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke to children in the household. Those smokers are choosing to do more of their smoking outdoors on their patios and decks. This leads to a problem of outdoor smoking-waste litter for the homeowner.

The use of traditional open-container ashtrays in these patio and deck areas has several drawbacks. The ashtray has a small capacity and fills up quickly with smoking waste, which requires frequent cleaning. The cigarette butts are also left exposed, creating an unsightly condition and odor and also a possible hazard because the cigarette butts are not completely extinguished. Also the traditional ashtray typically includes rest notches that encourage smokers to set a smoldering cigarette on the ashtray. This creates second hand smoke in the patio area.

Recent smoking legislation has forced the smoking public to move outdoors from public buildings in several states. Smoking is not permitted within some buildings for other reasons. The building management provides only specific designated smoking areas. This results in smoking-waste litter concentrated in a specific area.

Manufacturers have introduced smoking stations or receptacles for use in designated smoking areas. These conventional receptacles are generally very large with heights of 36 inches and taller. The smoking waste enters the receptacle through a small hole at the top and travels through a long neck until falling into a bucket filled with non-combustible material such as sand. This configuration of conventional receptacle hides the unsightly smoking waste and unpleasant odor that a typical ashtray would have.

A drawback with conventional receptacles is that they are much too large for convenient home and patio use in the non-commercial environment, or hotel room balconies in the hospitality industry and the commercial environment. These conventional receptacles are cumbersome to empty as they utilize the heavy sand filled bucket. A door may be provided in the base of the conventional container to access the bucket. After the bucket is removed, smoking waste must either be poured out with sand or one must scoop the smoking waste out of the sand-filled bucket. The process of cleaning conventional receptacles is unsanitary, unpleasant, and time consuming. Many users are dissatisfied with the unpleasant odor and mess associated with the task of picking the smoking waste out of the sand. It is also undesirable to stoop down to scoop the smoking waste out of the sand. Ashes can be stirred up into the air by sifting the sand, which is unpleasant. Also, it can become necessary to replace the sand that often gets thrown out with the smoking waste.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a receptacle for receiving smoking waste. The receptacle includes a base, a cap and a disposable container. The cap is configured to be connected to the base. The disposable container for receiving the smoking waste is configured to be removably inserted in the base.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a first embodiment of a receptacle for receiving smoking waste according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a cap of the receptacle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the cap and a connected container of the receptacle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a receptacle for receiving smoking waste according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of the receptacle of FIG. 4 with a cap partially opened.

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of the cap and base of the receptacle of FIG. 4 with the cap closed.

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of the cap and base of the receptacle of FIG. 4 with the cap opened.

FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of the receptacle of FIG. 4 with the cap fully opened.

FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view of a container used in the receptacle of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. An effort has been made to use the same reference numbers throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

According to a first embodiment of the invention, shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a receptacle 10 has a cap 20 and a base 30. The receptacle 10 further includes a disposable container 50 for receiving smoking waste.

The cap 20 can provide a cover for the disposable container 50. The cap 20 preferably includes a cover portion 21. An insert opening 26 in the cover portion 21 connects to a passage 28 that extends through the bottom of the cap 20 to provide an opening into the disposable container 50. Two insert openings 26 and passages 28 are shown in FIG. 2. Smoking waste inserted into the insert opening 26 will proceed through the passage 28 into the disposable container 50.

The cap 20 may also include a throat portion 40 extending below a lower edge 23 of the cover portion 21. The throat portion 40 preferably has a smaller maximum diameter than the cap 20, to form the lower edge 23. Preferably the throat portion 40 is configured to fit within a rim 32 of the base 30 such that the lower edge 23 of the cover portion 21 rests on the rim 32 of the base 30. The throat portion 40 of the cap 20 may include a keyed channel 42 configured to facilitate attachment of the disposable container 50 to the cap 20. For example, the keyed channel 42 can provide a recess into which a portion of the container 50 can be tightened to secure the container 50 to the cap 20, as shown in FIG. 3.

The cap 20 may also include a recess 24. The recess 24 is preferably shallow and configured to allow smokers to stub out or ash out their cigarettes or cigars.

The cap 20 can be made of a variety of materials. Preferably it is made of cast aluminum or zinc, and may be plated with copper, bronze, or brass. Such metal material allows the user to snuff out or extinguish the cigarette or cigar butt before disposing of it. The cap 20 can be made in other ways, such as molded of plastic or a wood polymer mix.

The cap 20 preferably is connected to the base 30 by conventional means that allow a user to remove the cap 20 from the base 30 to access the disposable container 50. For example, the cap 20 and base 30 can be loosely connected by fitting the throat portion 40 of the cap 20 within the rim 32 of the base 30 such that the lower edge 23 of the cover portion 21 rests on the rim 32 of the base 30. More secure connections, such as interference, threaded screw, or friction fits, could also be provided.

The disposable container 50 receives and retains smoking waste. Preferably, the disposable container 50 fits around the throat 40 of the cap 20 and captures any smoking waste inserted into the cap 20.

The disposable container 50 preferably includes a closure device 52, such as a drawstring fit within a flap 53 in the disposable container 50, that can be tightened to facilitate connection of the disposable container 50 to the throat 40. When the throat 40 has the keyed channel 42, the closure device 52 may be tightened to snugly fit in the keyed channel 42 to keep the disposable container 50 in a proper position. The closure device fit preferably is provided in a flexible portion of the disposable container 50.

The closure device 52 also can be used to close the disposable container 50 when it is ready for disposal. In particular, after removing the disposable container 50 from the throat 40, the closure device 52 may be further tightened to seal the disposable container 50 shut. Thus, the contents of the disposable container 50 will be retained within it for disposal.

The disposable container 50 can be positioned within the base 30. Preferably, the disposable container 50 is configured to line the inside of the base 30.

The disposable container 50 is preferably made of lightweight material(s), which makes it easier for a user to pick up and move the container 50. This makes it easier for a user to dispose of the container 50 without heavy lifting. For example, the disposable container 50 may be made of heavy duty aluminum foil bag or a thin aluminum can.

Preferably the disposable container 50 is made of noncombustible material(s). The use of noncombustible material facilitates the collection of smoking waste in a safe manner. Additionally, the use of noncombustible material can eliminate the need for sand, or other noncombustible filler, to safely collect smoking waste. Omitting the noncombustible filler further contributes to the lightweight nature of the disposable container 50. It also allows the user to not have to sift through sand or touch any of the cigarette or cigar butts before disposing of them.

Preferably at least the portion of the disposable container 50 that connects to the throat 40 of the cap 20 is flexible. This permits an easier connection, while allowing the flexibility to seal the disposable container 50 for disposal. Preferably, the entirety of the disposable container 50 is made of flexible material.

The disposable container 50 can have a capacity of, for example, 500 cigarette butts. Because of the large capacity of the container 50, the receptacle 10 will require less frequent changing or cleaning than smaller capacity smoking-waste receptacles. If the receptacle 10 is used commercially, this reduced labor translates to higher work efficiency and a savings to the site using this receptacle 10.

The base 30 is configured to support the cap 20. Preferably, the base 30 is configured to house the container 50. However, the base 30 could be open sided and not fully house the container 50. As mentioned above, the base 30 preferably includes the rim 32 upon which the cap 20 is positioned.

The base 30 can be, for example, molded of plastic or a wood polymer mix. The base 30 also can be made of plastic by low pressure plastic injection molding (structural foam or structural web technologies), roto-molding, or blow molding. The base 30 may also be made of wood, pre-cast concrete, formed metal, polyolefin resin, or engineering resin.

When the receptacle 10 is full or otherwise ready to be cleaned, the disposable container 50 can be removed from the base 30, and detached from the cap 20 for disposal. In particular, the cap 20 is detached from the base 30, allowing a user to access the disposable container 50. The user may simply remove the container 50 from the cap 20, seal the container 50, and discard the container 50 after it (including its contents) is sufficiently cool to be placed in the trash. This allows a user to quickly empty and clean the receptacle 10.

A second embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. This second embodiment is similar in many respects to the first embodiment, except the receptacle has a different shape, the cap 20 is provided with a flow-inhibiting structure, the disposable container 50 is connected to the base 30, and the connection between the cap 20 and the base 30 differs. These modifications could be incorporated separately or in combination into the receptacle of the first embodiment.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 6, and 7, the cap 20 in this second embodiment is provided with a flow-inhibiting structure 80, such as a baffle. The flow-inhibiting structure inhibits smoke from the smoking waste from exiting the receptacle 10. The flow inhibiting structure 80 includes a lower wall 84 leading to a limited opening slot 86. The lower wall 84 slopes downward. Smoking waste will be guided by the lower wall 84 through the slot 86 and into the container 50. The limited opening slot 86 is configured to allow a cigarette butt to pass, but to prevent the majority of smoke from escaping the container 50. Smoke from the smoking waste will swirl around within the container 50 under the flow inhibiting structure 80 and will be inhibited from escaping through the cap 20. The smoke circulating within the container 50 also restricts oxygen flow to the disposed smoking waste in the container 50.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, in this second embodiment the disposable container 50 is connected to the base 30. The base 30 includes at least one post 70, and preferably a plurality of posts 70, projecting upwardly from the rim 32 of the base 30. The cap 20 includes recesses 27, as shown in FIG. 6, positioned in the underside of the lower edge 23. The recesses 27 are each configured to receive a post 70. The disposable container 50 can be attached to the posts 70 to help maintain the proper position of the container 50 in the base 30. The container 50 includes openings 54 configured to be positioned around the posts 70. The openings 54 may be positioned on a fold-over flap 56, that preferably is flexible. The container 50 is positioned within the base 30, with a fold-over flap 56 extending out of the interior of the base 30 and laying along the rim 32 of the base 30. The container 50 may be folded and die cut to create the flaps. A punching operation may be used to create the openings 54.

In this second embodiment, the cap 20 is connected to the base 30 by a connector. For example, a hinge structure 90, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, can be provided to pivotably connect the cap 20 to the base 30. The hinge structure 90 permits the cap 20 to pivot between an open position and a closed position.

The embodiments described above have been set forth herein for the purpose of illustration. This description, however, should not be deemed to be a limitation on the scope of the invention. Various modifications, adaptations, and alternatives may occur to one skilled in the art without departing from the claimed inventive concept. The scope and spirit of the invention are indicated by the following claims.