Title:
Retractable refuse container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A retractable refuse container allows for the container to be rolled to a curb. The refuse container has a turf anchor or planting stake attached to a retractable line played from a retracting spring loaded spool incorporated in the container wall near its base. The stake has a hinged handle which may be rotated upward for insertion of a foot for planting the stake and hand grasping for stake removal. The stake is stored in a support friction groove on the container, the stake line being attached at its free end to the stake handle. Upon a worker carrying and dumping the container, the stake line is played out from the spool. The spring action of the retracting spool will then retract the line to the curb near the stake. The owner pulls the stake, snaps it into the stake support, and returns the container to a permanent location.



Inventors:
Garvie, Terry J. (Harrisburg, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/991465
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
11/19/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A retractable refuse container comprising: a refuse container having a first bottom wall and a sidewall; a planting stake having a shaft and a handle; a retracting spool reel located on said sidewall of said refuse container; and a stake line mounted on said retracting spool reel and having a free end attached to said planting stake; whereby a user such as a sanitation worker may draw said container from the vicinity of said stake as said retracting spool reel plays out said stake line to a dumping point, and upon dumping the contents of said container and releasing any pulling and holding pressure on said container, said retracting spool reel acts to take up said stake line such as to return said container to said planting stake.

2. The retractable refuse container of claim 1, wherein said planting stake further comprises a hinge rotatably attaching said shaft with said handle.

3. The retractable refuse container of claim 2, wherein said handle of said planting stake is generally oval in shape having a hollow center for grasping and is attached with said hinge along an elongated side of said handle, said shaft extending perpendicularly from about the center of said hinge, said handle being of sufficient size to receive the toe of a shoe for planting said stake.

4. The retractable refuse container of claim 3, further comprising a mounting support located on said container wall having a friction groove of sufficient size for removably mounting said planting stake by grasping said shaft.

5. The retractable refuse container of claim 1, further comprising a spool reel housing integral with said container, said housing defining a stake line throughbore, said retracting spool reel being mounted within said spool reel housing and positioned therein such that said stake line is free to exit and enter said stake line throughbore.

6. The retractable refuse container of claim 5, wherein said spool reel housing is located on the outer side of said sidewall and proximate said bottom wall.

7. The retractable refuse container of claim 5, wherein said refuse container further comprises a second bottom wall spaced above said first bottom wall spool forming a space therebetween, said reel housing being located within said space, said sidewall having a stake line throughbore.

8. The retractable refuse container of claim 5, wherein said retracting spool is spring loaded so as to retract said stake line and draw said refuse container toward said planting stake as planted upon release of said refuse container by a user.

9. The retractable refuse container of claim 8, wherein said retracting spool reel comprises a stop or ratchet requiring manipulation by said the user to activate said retracting spool reel to retract said stake line, drawing said refuse container toward said planting stake as planted.

10. The retractable refuse container of claim 1, wherein said container is generally cylindrical in shape and has a conforming hinge mounted cover for opening and closing said container while maintaining attachment of said cover with said container.

11. The retractable refuse container of claim 10, wherein said container comprises at least one pair of wheels located at said bottom wall so as to allow the rolling transport of said container by a user.

12. The retractable refuse container of claim 1, wherein said container is rectangular in shape and has a conforming hinge mounted cover for opening and closing said container while maintaining attachment of said cover with said container.

13. The retractable refuse container of claim 12, wherein said container comprises at least one pair of wheels located at said bottom wall so as to allow the rolling transport of said container by a user.

14. The retractable refuse container of claim 13, said first bottom wall further comprising a bottom wall container support depending from said bottom wall and spaced from said pair of wheels for supporting said container at a level position.

15. A retractable refuse container comprising: a refuse container having a bottom wall and a sidewall; a planting stake having a shaft and a handle; a retracting spool reel located on said sidewall of said refuse container; a stake line mounted on said retracting spool reel and having a free end attached to said planting stake; said planting stake further comprising a hinge rotatably attaching said shaft with said handle; a mounting support located on said container wall having a friction groove of sufficient size for removably mounting said planting stake by-grasping said shaft; and a spool reel housing integral with said container, said housing defining a stake line throughbore, said retracting spool reel being mounted within said spool reel housing and positioned therein such that said stake line is free to exit and enter said stake line throughbore; said retracting spool being spring loaded so as to retract said stake line and draw said refuse container toward said planting stake as planted upon release of said refuse container by a user; whereby a user such as a sanitation worker may draw said container from the vicinity of said stake as said retracting spool reel plays out said stake line to a dumping point, and upon dumping said container and releasing pulling and holding pressure on said container, said retracting spool reel acts to take up said stake line such as to return said container to said planting stake.

16. The retractable refuse container of claim 15, wherein said container is generally cylindrical in shape and has a conforming hinge mounted cover for opening and closing said container while maintaining attachment of said cover with said container.

17. The retractable refuse container of claim 16, said container further comprising at least one pair of wheels located at said bottom wall so as to allow the rolling transport of said container by a user.

18. The retractable refuse container of claim 15, wherein said container is generally rectangular in shape and has a conforming hinge mounted cover for opening and closing said container while maintaining attachment of said cover with said container.

19. The retractable refuse container of claim 18, said container further comprising at least one pair of wheels located at said bottom wall so as to allow the rolling transport of said container by a user.

20. The retractable refuse container of claim 19, said container further comprising a bottom wall container support depending from said bottom wall and spaced from said pair of wheels for supporting said container at a level position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/527,009, filed Dec. 5, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to trashcans and containers. More particularly, the present invention relates to trash or refuse containers having a staked, retracting retrieval system.

2. Description of the Related Art

Rubber, plastic, fiberglass, metal and other types of refuse, trash, or recycle containers are in wide use for purposes of holding trash, garbage, or recyclable waste for pickup by sanitation workers or other haulers. In most households the containers or trashcans are simply rolled or carried to the curbside for pickup. Once the contents are emptied into a sanitation truck or other vehicle, the refuse containers or trash cans are often discarded by simply tossing the containers on their sides to the lawn or driveway. The wind may roll such containers out into the street, representing a hazard to drivers and pedestrians and the potential loss of the container or can. Also, many refuse containers or cans, once emptied, lack adequate weight to retain them in place when rested upright in windy conditions, resulting in similar risks of injury or loss. It would be desirable to provide a system for staking or otherwise holding the refuse containers or trash cans in place after emptying. It would further be desirable to provide such a system which maintains control of the container or can at all times, even during the emptying process. This would end the problems of damage and loss of these items as described above.

Thus a retractable trashcan solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The retractable refuse or trash container of the present invention allows for the container to be rolled to the edge of the owner's property, such as a street curb. The refuse container has at its external lower end a turf anchor or planting stake that is attached to a retractable line played from a retracting spring loaded spool incorporated in the container wall near its base. The stake may be pushed into a grassy area of earth next to the road or curb, typically between the sidewalk and the curb. The stake has a hinged handle which may lay flat with the ground surface and rotated upward for insertion of the user's foot for planting the stake and for grasping with the hand for stake removal. The stake is removably held for convenient storage in a friction groove of a support located on the container near the housing of the retractable spool, the line from the spool being attached at its free end to the stake or its handle.

Upon the sanitation worker grasping the refuse container and carrying it to the truck for dumping, the stake line is played out from the spool. If the sanitation worker then fails to replace the container in its proper place, the spring action of the retracting spool will retract the line, thus retrieving the container to its proper location next to the curb near the stake. The owner may then pull the stake, snap it into the stake support, and return the container to the garage or other permanent location.

It is an aspect of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a retractable refuse container system according to the present invention with the retractable stake line in a partially deployed position.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the retractable refuse container system of FIG. 1 with an alternative wheel and support with the planting stake in the stored position.

FIG. 3 is an exploded detail view of the planting stake with hinged handle and its storing support.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view similar to that of FIG. 2A of a double bottomed refuse container as above with the reel and housing located between the bottom walls and the stake line exiting the container for connection with the planting stake.

FIG. 4B is a detail view of the retractable spring-loaded reel and housing of FIG. 4B.

FIG. 5 is a side elevation view similar to that of FIG. 4 employing a rectangular refuse container and hinged lid.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The retractable refuse or trash can or container of the present invention allows for the container to be rolled to the edge of the owner's property, such as a street curb. The refuse container has at its external lower end a turf anchor or planting stake that is attached to a retractable line played from a retracting spring loaded spool incorporated in the container wall near its base. The stake may be pushed into a grassy area of earth next to the road or curb, typically between the sidewalk and the curb. The stake has a hinged handle and is removably held for convenient storage in a friction groove of a support located on the container near the housing of the retractable spool, the line from the spool being attached at its free end to the stake or its handle.

Upon the sanitation worker grasping the refuse container and carrying it to the truck for dumping, the stake line is played out from the spring loaded retracting spool. If the sanitation worker then fails to replace the container in its proper place, the spring action of the retracting spool will retract the line, thus retrieving the container to its proper location next to the curb near the stake.

Referring to FIG. 1 and 2, there is shown an environmental, perspective view and a side elevation view of the retractable refuse container system of the present invention designated by the reference number 10. The environmental perspective view of FIG. 1 shows a sanitation worker S in the process of moving the refuse from the ground strip G located between sidewalk W and curb C. The side elevation view of FIG. 2 shows the refuse container in the stored position, normally in a garage, ready for the accumulation of refuse between hauling times. System 10 includes a refuse container 14 having a bottom wall 16 and a generally cylindrical sidewall 20 and having a lid 22 having a centrally disposed handle 24 and connected at a rear location by a hinge 26 of conventional design allowing for the opening and closing of lid 22 by rotation around hinge 26. The hinge 26 may be located several inches lower on the rear location of the refuse container 14 so as to more easily accommodate a plastic refuse liner around the lip or top edge of the refuse container 14. The refuse container has wheels 28 mounted on a common axle 30 held for rotation within axle support 32 in a conventional manner.

Retractable reel housing 40 is located on the sidewall 20 near bottom wall 16 and is preferably integral with the container 14. Retractable reel housing 40 contains a retractable reel 41 (see FIG. 4B) attached with planting stake 42 by retractable line 44 retractably playable from reel 41 by exertion of pulling force by a sanitation worker S. The retractable reel housing 40 is of such design so as to minimize the possibility of allowing water or moisture into the retractable reel housing 40. The retractable line 44 is of a pliable material that is resistant to freezing in colder temperatures. As is shown, the worker S may lift and carry, the container 14 to a refuse truck (not shown) for dumping. The worker S upon dumping the refuse may release the container 14 and the retracting force of the retractable reel pulls the container 14 back to the curb C. As seen in FIG. 2, the refuse container 14 may have a resting support 35 extending downward from and across bottom wall 16 near the front of the container 14 which, along with wheels 28, keep bottom wall 16 from resting on the ground. FIG. 2 shows the grounding stake 42 in its stored position, stake 42 resting in stake support 46 having sides 48 and a central, outward-opening groove 50 therein, support 46 being made of material of sufficient elasticity to allow the snapping in of grounding stake 42, grasping during storage, and the snapping out of grounding stake 42 prior to its planting in ground G.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, planting stake 42 has a generally oval or rectangular shaped handle 52, a shaft 54, and a pointed shaft head 56, shaft 54 being connected at its handle end by a hinge 58 to handle foot pressure portion 60 of handle 52 and extending therealong. Shaft 54 is preferably centrally mounted and perpendicular to hinge 58 and foot pressure portion 60. The shaft 54 may be mounted so as to provide for the pointed shaft head 56 to be pointing in a downward direction. Handle 52 is preferably of such size and dimensions that a user may insert their foot therethrough to bear on pressure portion 59, thus driving planting stake 42 into the ground. Hinge 58, as seen in FIG. 1, allows handle 52 to rotate to a horizontal position, even with the ground G, when planted and container 14 left curbside for refuse pickup. Stake line 44 may be attached at its end to stake 42 in any desired conventional manner such as by welding or crimping (not shown) to the handle 52 or hinge 58. Alternatively, stake line 44 may have its end looped around a portion of handle 52 and secured upon itself by a fastener as shown in FIG. 3.

Referring To FIGS. 4A and 4B, there is shown another embodiment of the invention wherein container 14 has a double bottom formed by outer bottom wall 16 and inner bottom wall 18 spaced above outer bottom wall 16 so as to form a closed interior space 19. In this embodiment housing 40 is mounted within the interior space 19 where it is more protected from impact and weather damage. The housing 40 may be integral with the inner side of wall 20 as shown and formed integral therewith. Housing 40 may be conveniently located at other locations within interior space 14 such as on the upper side of bottom wall 16 or the lower side of upper bottom wall 18 as desired. In this embodiment, an orifice 60 is located through the wall 20 so as to allow retractable line 44 to travel therethrough. A lid connecting line 27 may be substituted for the hinge 26 for allowing lid 22 to be opened while retaining lid 22 fastened to container 14 as desired, it being desirable that the lid 22 be securely connected with container 14 to avoid its loss, such as during the retrieval process of the retractable reel and line after dumping the container.

Referring more particularly to FIG. 4B there is shown a detail perspective view of the lower side portion of container 14 of FIG. 4A, with a portion of wall 20 broken away to show retractable reel housing 40. Reel housing 40 is partially broken away to show a partial sectional view of retractable reel 41, thereby showing retracting coil spring mechanism 43 around which is wound the retracted portion of line 44. The retractable coil spring mechanism 43 and retractable reel 41 are of conventional construction as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,018,189, to Umphries et al., the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. A similar coil spring mechanism having a releasable stop for operation of such a coil spring retracting mechanism which would require the releasing of a stop by the sanitation worker S to activate the container retracting system 10 as described by in U.S. Pat. No. 4,194,315, to Martin et al., the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. The retractable refuse container system 10 of the present invention may be built and operated in either the constant retraction pressure mode or the stop release retraction mode as desired.

Referring to FIG. 5, there is shown another embodiment of the invention similar to that of FIG. 4A, having a refuse container 80 of substantially rectangular cross section, container 80 having a rear wall 81, sidewalls 82, and a front wall 83. Container 80 has a rectangular cover 84 having a centrally located handle 86 and attached at its rear side to wall 81 by hinge 88. The container 80 has a bottom wall 90 which rests on the ground and has rear side-mounted wheels 94 mounted on axles 92 in wall insets 96 configured in a conventional manner. The embodiment of FIG. 5 is shown with the planting stake 42 in the planted position and stake line 44 leading away from stake 24 and extending through sidewall orifice 98 to a reel housing 40 (see FIG. 4B).

In operation, a household owner pushes the wheel refuse container 14 to the curb for refuse pickup. The owner then snaps the planting stake 42 from its support 46 and plants it into the ground G by inserting his foot into handle 52 and pushing downward on surface 60. The sanitation worker S then picks up the container 12, carries it to the trash truck, and dumps the refuse. The stake line 44 plays out from retractable reel 41 during this process. As the sanitation worker replaces the container near the curb, the line 44 is taken up by reel 41. If the worker merely tosses the container toward the curb, the reel retracts line 44 and pulls the container to the curb, keeping it from rolling down the street or being hit by a passing vehicle. The owner then merely uprights the container, pulls up the planting stake by means of handle 52, and snaps it into the groove 50 of support 56. The owner then wheels the container to its normal location such as in a garage.

The refuse container of the present invention is preferably made of an impact resistant polymer plastic, but may be constructed of any conventional materials. The planting stake is preferably made of suitable metal material such as steel. However, an extremely durable plastic could be substituted for the suitable metal material. The retracting reel is preferably employs a steel coil spring. The refuse container may be of any desired size acceptable by a sanitation department.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.