Title:
Disposable table top waste receptacle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable table top waste receptacle for receiving and containing waste accumulated during a meal. The table top waste receptacle includes a body portion, a base portion, and a top panel. The body portion includes a plurality of fold lines dividing the body portion into a plurality of side panels. The base portion includes a plurality of base panels. Each of the plurality of base panels is connected by a fold line to a bottom edge of one of the plurality of side panels. The top panel is connected by a fold line to one of the plurality of side panels and includes an opening adapted to receive the waste. The table top waste receptacle is expandable from a storage configuration to a use configuration. In the storage configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel are disposed in a single plane, and in the use configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel enclose a chamber to contain the waste accumulated during the meal.



Inventors:
White, Naomi Corts (West Palm Beach, FL, US)
Mceniry, Deborah White (Palm Beach Gardens, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/996115
Publication Date:
05/25/2006
Filing Date:
11/23/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMEREE, CHRISTOPHER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark D. Swanson (Hoffman Estates, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A disposable table top waste receptacle for receiving and containing waste accumulated during a meal, the table top waste receptacle comprising: a body portion including a plurality of fold lines dividing the body portion into a plurality of side panels; a base portion comprising a plurality of base panels, wherein each of the plurality of base panels is connected by a fold line to a bottom edge of one of the plurality of side panels; and a top panel connected by a fold line to one of the plurality of side panels, the top panel including an opening adapted to receive the waste; the table top waste receptacle being expandable from a storage configuration to a use configuration, wherein in the storage configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel are disposed in a single plane, and in the use configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel enclose a chamber to contain the waste accumulated during the meal.

2. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, wherein the table top waste receptacle is expandable from the storage configuration to the use configuration by folding at the fold lines.

3. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, wherein the base panels overlap in the use configuration.

4. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 3, additionally comprising four side panels, each of the four side panels including one of a square or rectangular shape.

5. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 4, additionally comprising four base panels.

6. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 5, wherein each of at least two of the four base panels comprise a slit extending across at least a portion of the base panel from an edge of the base panel toward the fold line connecting the base panel to the corresponding side panel.

7. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, wherein the table top waste receptacle is formed of rigid paper.

8. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 7, wherein a side of the paper facing the chamber is coated with a water-resistant material.

9. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, additionally comprising a tab connected by a fold line to a side edge of one of the side panels, wherein in the use configuration the tab is disposed perpendicular to the one of the side panels, within the chamber, and adjacent another of the side panels.

10. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 9, wherein in the use configuration the tab is secured to the other of the side panels.

11. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, additionally comprising a tab connected at a top panel edge by a fold line, wherein in the use configuration the tab is disposed perpendicular to the top panel, within the chamber, and adjacent one of the side panels.

12. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, wherein the opening comprises a plurality of deflectable flaps.

13. A combination comprising the disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1 and a holder, the holder comprising a holder base and a plurality of holder side walls extending from the holder base to define a receiving cavity, wherein the table top waste receptacle fits within the receiving cavity such that the table top waste receptacle base portion is adjacent the holder base.

14. The combination according to claim 13, wherein each of the plurality of holder side walls is adjacent to at least a portion of one of the plurality of body portion side panels.

15. The combination according to claim 13, wherein the holder is formed from a material selected from a group including wire mesh, ceramic, crystal, plastic, wood, metal, and combinations thereof.

16. A disposable table top waste receptacle for receiving and containing waste accumulated during a meal, the table top waste receptacle comprising: a body portion including a plurality of fold lines dividing the body portion into four side panels, each of the four side panels having a square or rectangular shape; four base panels, each of the four base panels connected at a side edge to a bottom edge of one of the four side panels by a fold line; and a top panel connected at a side edge to a top edge of one of the four side panels by a fold line, the top panel including an opening adapted to receive the waste; the table top waste receptacle being expandable from a storage configuration to a use configuration, wherein in the storage configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel are disposed in a single plane, and in the use configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel enclose a chamber to contain the waste, the table top waste receptacle being expandable from the storage configuration to the use configuration by folding at each fold line to dispose each of the side panels, base panels, and top panel substantially perpendicular to an adjacent one of the side panels, base panels, and top panel.

17. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 16, wherein the table top waste receptacle is formed of rigid and water-resistant paper.

18. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 17, additionally comprising a tab connected by a fold line to a side edge of one of the four side panels, wherein in the use configuration the tab is disposed perpendicular to the one of the four side panels, within the chamber, and adjacent another of the four side panels.

19. The disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 1, additionally comprising a tab connected at a top panel edge by a fold line, wherein in the use configuration the tab is disposed perpendicular to the top panel, within the chamber, and adjacent one of the four side panels.

20. A combination comprising the disposable table top waste receptacle according to claim 17 and a holder, the holder comprising a holder base and a plurality of holder side walls extending from the holder base to define a receiving cavity, wherein the table top waste receptacle fits within the receiving cavity to dispose the table top waste receptacle base portion adjacent the holder base.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a container for placement on a table or other eating surface, such as at a restaurant, for collecting waste accumulated during a meal, and, more particularly, a disposable container for collecting waste accumulated during a meal.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

While dining, particularly while dining in a restaurant or bar, it is relatively easy to build up a large collection of scraps, more particularly, non-food scraps such as, for example, empty sugar, ketchup, or other condiment packets, cream containers, straw wrappers, individual butter and syrup packages, and napkins. During a typical meal, such waste can accumulate relatively quickly, either providing a cluttered, messy table, thereby diminishing the dining experience, or requiring more frequent attention by, for example, restaurant staff.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,984,941; 5,000,334; and 5,036,998 disclose various table top containers for receiving table waste. U.S. Pat. No. 3,984,941 discloses a more complex container that is not disposable and generally requires washing upon emptying. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,000,334 and 5,036,998 disclose containers that are disposable but, due to the described container configurations, generally require more storage space prior to use than a typical restaurant has to offer for such dining accessories.

There is a need for a disposable table waste container. There is a need for a disposable table waste container that is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and does not require much storage space prior to use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A general object of the invention is to provide an improved table top waste receptacle.

A more specific objective of the invention is to overcome one or more of the problems described above.

The general object of the invention can be attained, at least in part, through a disposable table top waste receptacle for receiving and containing waste accumulated during a meal. The table top waste receptacle includes a body portion, a base portion, and a top panel. The body portion includes a plurality of fold lines dividing the body portion into a plurality of side panels. The base portion includes a plurality of base panels. Each of the plurality of base panels is connected by a fold line to a bottom edge of one of the plurality of side panels. The top panel is connected by a fold line to one of the plurality of side panels and includes an opening adapted to receive the waste. The table top waste receptacle is expandable from a storage configuration to a use configuration. In the storage configuration, the side panels, base panels, and top panel are disposed in a single plane, and in the use configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel enclose a chamber to contain the waste accumulated during the meal.

In contrast to the present invention, the prior art generally fails to disclose a disposable table top waste receptacle that is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and that assembles from a collapsed storage configuration to an assembled use configuration.

The invention further comprehends a disposable table top waste receptacle for receiving and containing waste accumulated during a meal. The table top waste receptacle includes a body portion having a plurality of fold lines dividing the body portion into four side panels. Each of the four side panels has a square or rectangular shape. The table top waste receptacle also includes four base panels. Each of the four base panels is connected at a side edge to a bottom edge of one of the four side panels by a fold line. The table top waste receptacle further includes a top panel connected at a side edge to a top edge of one of the four side panels by a fold line. The top panel includes an opening adapted to receive the waste. The table top waste receptacle is expandable from a storage configuration to a use configuration. In the storage configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel are disposed in a single plane, and in the use configuration the side panels, base panels, and top panel enclose a chamber to contain the waste. The table top waste receptacle is expandable from the storage configuration to the use configuration by folding at each fold line to dispose each of the side panels, base panels, and top panel substantially perpendicular to an adjacent one of the side panels, base panels, and top panel.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the appended claims and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a disposable table top waste receptacle in the storage configuration, prior to assembly and use, according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the disposable table top waste receptacle shown in FIG. 1 assembled into the use configuration.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a combination of a disposable table top waste receptacle and a holder, according to another embodiment of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a disposable table top waste receptacle for use during dining for the collection of table scraps, such as, for example, used tea bags, empty sugar, ketchup, or other condiment packets, cream containers, straw wrappers, individual butter and syrup packages, or napkins. The disposable table top waste receptacle of this invention has a collapsed, planar storage configuration that is able to be assembled into a three-dimensional use configuration. In the collapsed storage configuration, the disposable table top waste receptacle is a cut and scored piece of flat, rigid paper material, e.g., paperboard, including a plurality of scored fold lines that promote generally quick and easy assembly when the table top waste receptacle is needed. The disposable table top waste receptacle is particularly useful in dining establishments such as, for example, restaurants, school cafeterias, and bars, as well as in residences or on picnics, due to its flat storage configuration which generally requires minimal storage space, even in relatively large quantities.

FIG. 1 shows a disposable table top waste receptacle 20 according to one embodiment of the invention. The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 is shown in a storage configuration, appropriately cut and scored to be easily assembled into a use configuration, discussed further below.

The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 includes a body portion 22. The body portion 22 includes a plurality of fold lines 24, 26, and 28 dividing the body portion 22 into four side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, respectively. The fold lines (shown as dashed lines in FIG. 1) of the disposable table top waste receptacle of this invention may be formed by various means available to one skilled in the art. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1, the body portion 22 and each of the four side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36 have a rectangular shape. As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, various and alternative sizes, shapes, and configurations are available for the body portion and/or side panels of this invention. For example, and without limitation, in another embodiment of the invention the body portion includes side panels having a square shape and/or three side panels instead of four. In one particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the side panels have a size of about six inches by three inches, thereby providing the disposable table top waste receptacle a height of about six inches in the use configuration, and the base portion and top panel are square with three inch sides.

The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 includes a base portion 40 connected to the body portion 22. The base portion 40 includes four base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48. Each of the four base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48 is connected by a fold line at a side edge 52, 54, 56, and 58, respectively, to a bottom edge 60, 62, 64, and 65 of one of the four side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, respectively. The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 includes a top panel 66 connected by a fold line at a side edge 68 to a top edge 70 the side panel 32. The top panel 66 includes an opening 72 that is adapted to receive table waste when the disposable table top waste receptacle 20 is in the use configuration. The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 includes a plurality of tabs. A tab 74 is connected by a fold line to a side edge 76 of the side panel 36. Three additional, appropriately sized tabs 78, 80, and 82 are each connected by a fold line to one of three side edges 84, 86, and 88, respectively, of the top panel 66.

The table top waste receptacle 20 is expandable from the storage configuration shown in FIG. 1 to a use configuration shown in FIG. 2. In the storage configuration the side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48, and top panel 66 are disposed in a single plane. In the use configuration, the side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, the base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48, and top panel 66 enclose a chamber 90 to contain table waste. The table top waste receptacle 20 is expandable from the storage configuration to the use configuration by folding at each fold line to dispose, as shown in FIG. 2, each of the side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, the base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48, and top panel 66 is substantially perpendicular to adjacent side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36, base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48, and/or the top panel 66, respectively.

As shown in FIG. 2, in the use configuration, the table top waste receptacle 20 includes a rectangular box configuration and encloses the chamber 90. The plurality of tabs described above desirably function to hold the table top waste receptacle 20 in the folded use configuration. The tab 74, shown in phantom in FIG. 2 is disposed perpendicular to the side panel 36 and adjacent the side panel 30. The tab 74 is desirably disposed within the chamber 90 and secured to the inside surface of the side panel 30. The tab 74 can be secured to the side panel 30, by, for example, an adhesive, such as a self adhesive portion protected or covered until use by a releasable cover material, as is known in the art. In another embodiment, the tab 74 can be disposed through a corresponding opening in the adjacent side panel. As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, various and alternative sizes, shapes, quantities, and configurations are available for the tab 74.

The tabs 78, 80, and 82 connected to the top panel 66 desirably secure the top panel 66 when in the folded use configuration. The tabs 78, 80, and 82 are desirably tucked into the chamber 30 and disposed substantially perpendicular to each of the side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36. In the use configuration, the tabs 78, 80, and 82 are disposed perpendicular, by folding at the corresponding connecting fold line, to the top panel 66. Each of the tabs 78, 80, and 82 are further desirably disposed within the chamber 90 and adjacent one of the side panels 30, 34, and 36, respectively. As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, various and alternative sizes, shapes, quantities, and configurations are available for tabs connected to the top panel 66. For example, in one embodiment of the invention, the top panel includes only one tab, desirably disposed on an opposite side from the fold line. Also, various and alternative means for securing the at least one top panel tab to an adjacent side panel, such as those described above for tab 74, are available for the at least one top panel tab of this invention.

When the disposable table top waste receptacle 20 is folded into the use configuration, the four base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48 are folded to be disposed perpendicular to the side panels 30, 32, 34, and 36. When folded in the use configuration, the base panels 42, 44, 46, and 48 overlap to form a floor for the chamber 90. As shown in FIG. 1, two of the base panels 42 and 46 include slits 92 and 94, respectively. The slits 92 and 94 extend across at least a portion of, and desirably halfway across, the respective base panels 42 and 46 from edges 98 and 100 toward the fold line connecting each of the base panels 42 and 46 to the corresponding side panel 30 and 34, respectively. The slits 92 and 94 are positioned such that when the base panels 42 and 46 are folded into the use configuration, the slits 92 and 94 align and overlap to allow the base panels 42 and 46 to overlapingly attach together to secure a floor for the chamber 90. In other words, the base panels 44 and 48 are folded first. The base panels 42 and 46 are subsequently folded over the outer sides of the base panels 44 and 48. Half of the base panel 42 is disposed over a corresponding half of the base panel 46, while the other half of the base panel 46 is disposed over the corresponding other half of the base panel 42, thereby connecting the base panels 42 and 46 together. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, various and alternative slit and/or overlap configurations are available for assembling and securing two or more base panels into the base portion in the use configuration. Additional or alternative means, such as adhesive tape, can be used to secure the base panels together in the folded, overlapping position.

In the use configuration, the disposable table top waste receptacle 20 is placed on a table and is useful for collecting table waste, such as, for example, open sugar and cream packets, straw wrappers, and toothpicks. The disposable table top waste receptacle 20 is desirably made of a rigid paper material, such as paper board, and, more desirably, a rigid, water-resistant paper material. In one embodiment of the invention, at least one side, desirably the inner side or surface of the paper table top waste receptacle is coated with a water-resistant material. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, imparting water-resistance provides strength for receiving waste such as, for example, used tea bags and coffee cream containers that may introduce small amounts of liquids into the chamber 90. Constructing the table top waste receptacle 20 from a paper material also allows for various colors and/or printed images, such as, for example, a restaurant name or logo, or other advertising material.

As discussed above, the disposable table top waste receptacle of this invention is desirably made of a rigid paper material that allows the disposable table top waste receptacle to stand alone, in the use configuration, on a table top to provide a container to collect undesirable table refuse and scraps. Forming the table top waste receptacle from a paper material provides for a generally low cost, easy to manufacture, and disposable table top waste receptacle. In one embodiment of the invention, the disposable table top waste receptacle is used in combination with a holder. The holder is desirably nondisposable, e.g., a permanent table fixture, and made of a heavier material for providing stability to a relatively lightweight disposable table top waste receptacle. The disposable table top waste receptacle is placed into the holder which sits, for example, on a table top. When the disposable table top waste receptacle is to be discarded, such as, for example, when full or between patrons at a restaurant, the disposable table top waste receptacle is simply removed, e.g., lifted or dumped, from the holder and discarded.

FIG. 3 illustrates a combination of a disposable table top waste receptacle 120 and a holder 122 according to one embodiment of this invention. The disposable table top waste receptacle 120 is in the use configuration and has a rectangular box configuration generally similar to the disposable table top waste receptacle 20 shown in FIG. 1. The disposable table top waste receptacle 120 has a body portion 124 including a plurality of fold lines, including fold lines 126, 128, and 130, dividing the body portion into a plurality of side panels, including side panels 132 and 134. The disposable table top waste receptacle 120 includes a base portion (not shown in FIG. 3), desirably formed of a plurality of base panels. Each of the plurality of base panels is connected by a fold line to a bottom edge of one of the plurality of side panels, such as side panels 132 and 134. A top panel 136 is connected by a fold line to the side panel 132. The disposable table top waste receptacle 120 shown in FIG. 3 is in the use configuration, where the side panels 132 and 134, base panels, and top panel 136 enclose a chamber to contain the waste accumulated during a meal.

The top panel 136 of the disposable table top waste receptacle 120 has an opening 140 formed by a plurality of diagonal cuts 142 defining a plurality of deflectable flaps 144. To access the chamber enclosed by the disposable table top waste receptacle 120, i.e., to discard waste into the chamber, the deflectable flaps 142 are deflected inward, such as by bending or folding at an encircling fold line 146. As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, various and alternative sizes, shapes, and configurations are available for the top panel openings and/or deflectable flaps of this invention.

The holder 122 includes four holder side walls 150, 152, 154, and 156. The holder side walls 150, 152, 154, and 156 extend from a holder base (not shown) to define a receiving cavity 160 with a receiving cavity opening 162. The holder base closes the receiving cavity 160 at an end of the holder 122 opposite the receiving cavity opening 162, and the holder 122 sits on the holder base when the holder 122 is in use, such as on a table top during a meal.

The holder receiving cavity 160 and the receiving cavity opening 162 are appropriately sized to receive the table top waste receptacle 120. In one embodiment of this invention, the holder receiving cavity 160 and the receiving cavity opening 162 are sized slightly larger than the outer perimeter of the table top waste receptacle 120, thereby allowing the table top waste receptacle 120 to be relatively easily placed within the receiving cavity 160.

When the table top waste receptacle 120 is placed within the receiving cavity 160 the table top waste receptacle base portion is desirably adjacent the holder base. Furthermore, each of the holder side walls 150, 152, 154, and 156 is adjacent to at least a portion of one of the table top waste receptacle body portion side panels, respectively. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, the height of the holder side walls, particularly with respect to the table top waste receptacle side panels can vary depending on factors, such as, for example, materials of construction of both the holder and the table top waste receptacle, as well as a desired appearance or design. As shown in FIG. 3, the holder side walls 150, 152, 154, and 156 have a height substantially equal to a height of the table top waste receptacle side panels 132 and 134. In another embodiment of the invention, the holder side walls have a height that is less than a height of the table top waste receptacle side panels, such as, for example, about half the height of the table top waste receptacle side panels. The thickness of the holder side walls can also be varied according to need or desire. For example, in one embodiment of this invention the holder includes side walls having a thickness of about 0.25 inch to about 1 inch, and more desirably about 0.5 inch to about 0.75 inch, which extend up or cover about 25% to about 50% (about halfway up) of the table top waste receptacle side panels.

The holder 122 desirably functions as a weighted, nondisposable base to support and anchor the relatively lighter paper-based disposable table top waste receptacle. The holder of this invention also desirably provides a decorative element to the table top waste receptacle. The holder 122 can be formed from a material such as, for example and without limitation, wire mesh, ceramic, cut glass, crystal, plastic, wood, metal, and combinations thereof. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art following the teachings herein provided, alternative sizes, shapes, colors, and configurations are available for the holder of this invention.

Thus the invention provides a table top waste receptacle that is relatively inexpensive to manufacture from a lightweight disposable material such as a relatively rigid paper material. In addition, the table top waste receptacle can be shipped and stored in the collapsed storage configuration, thereby not requiring much storage space before use. The table top waste receptacle is generally quick and easy to assemble for use. In addition, the table top waste receptacle can be used in combination with a holder for support and providing desirable decoration, such as being made from cut glass or crystal for finer dining establishments.

While the embodiments of the invention described herein are presently preferred, various modifications and improvements can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims, and all changes that fall within the meaning and range of equivalents are intended to be embraced therein.