Title:
Liner Dispensing System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container liner dispensing system includes a panel mounted on a base, the panel having molded as a unit with the panel a first fastener means. The base includes molded as a unit with the base a trough and second fastener means aligned with the first fastener means for fastening the panel on the base. The panel and the trough together form a tube having a length, an axis, a first open end and a blocked second end for receiving a plurality of liner bags joined end to end in a strip and gathered in a roll having an outer curve of predetermined diameter. The panel includes a slot through the panel over the trough generally lengthwise with the tube, the slot having a first end that is open through an end of the panel, and having a second end. The slot walls diverge from the second end to the first, open end. The panel extends axially beyond the open first end of the tube. The first end of the slot extends beyond the open end of the tube. The panel includes a finger hole through the panel adjacent to the slot beyond the open end of the tube for rotating the first end of the slot upward. The bottom of the trough comprises a curve that in cross section closely approaches a portion of the outer curve of predetermined diameter.



Inventors:
Koch, Martin (Zion Grove, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/164676
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
12/01/2005
Assignee:
TRASH HELPER, INC. (Berwick, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MITCHELL A. SMOLOW (SHAVERTOWN, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container liner dispensing system comprising: a base, a panel, the panel being mounted on the base and comprising molded as a unit with the panel a first fastener, the base comprising molded as a unit with the base a trough having a first end, a second end, a top, and second fastener aligned with the first fastener on the panel for fastening the panel on the base, the panel and the trough together forming a tube having a length, an axis, an open first end and a blocked second end, the panel comprising a slot through the panel over the trough substantially lengthwise with the tube, the slot having a first end that is open through an end of the panel, and a second end that is closed, the slot diverging from its second, closed end to its open, first end thereby forming an angle of divergence.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 40 minutes to about 0 degrees, 44 minutes.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 42 minutes and 27 seconds.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein a slot width at the second, closed end is about 0.186 inch and about 0.318 inch at the first, open end.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the second end of the slot is adjacent to the blocked second end.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein the slot is longer than the length of the tube.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein the first end of the slot extends beyond the open end of the tube.

8. The system of claim 7 further comprising a finger hole through the panel adjacent to the slot beyond the open end of the tube.

9. A container liner dispensing system comprising: a base, a panel, the panel being mounted on the base and comprising molded as a unit with the panel a flexible latch finger extending from the panel, the base comprising molded as a unit with the base a trough having a first end, a second end, a first side, a second side, a top, a bottom, a first shoulder on the first side, a second shoulder on the second side, and a receiver for the flexible latch finger aligned with the flexible latch finger for fastening the panel on the base, the panel being mounted on the first and second shoulders, and forming with the trough a tube having a length, an axis, an open first end and a blocked second end, the panel comprising a slot through the panel over the trough, the slot having a first end that is open through an end of the panel and a second end that is closed, the slot diverging from its second, closed end to its open, first end, thereby forming an angle of divergence, and a molded alignment element on the panel for aligning the panel with the base when the panel is fastened on the base.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 40 minutes to about 0 degrees, 44 minutes.

11. The system of claim 9 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 42 minutes and 27 seconds.

12. The system of claim 9 wherein a slot width at the second, closed end is about 0.186 inch and about 0.318 inch at the first, open end.

13. The system of claim 9 wherein the slot extends beyond the open end of the tube.

14. A container liner dispensing system comprising: a waste container having a bottom wall, and a circumferential vertical wall attached to the bottom wall forming an enclosure having a top and a bottom, a base, a panel, the panel being mounted on the base and comprising molded as a unit with the panel a first fastener, the panel and base together being removably mounted in the waste container, the base comprising molded as a unit with the base a trough having a first end, a second end, a top, a bottom, and second fastener aligned with the first fastener on the panel for fastening the panel on the base, the panel and the trough together forming a tube having a length, an axis, an open first end and a blocked second end, the panel comprising a slot through the panel over the trough substantially lengthwise with the tube, the slot having a first end that is open through an end of the panel and a second end, the slot diverging from its second, closed end to its open, first end, thereby forming an angle of divergence.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 40 minutes to about 0 degrees, 44 minutes.

16. The system of claim 14 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 42 minutes and 27 seconds.

17. The system of claim 14 wherein a slot width at the second, closed end is about 0.186 inch and about 0.318 inch at the first, open end.

18. The system of claim 14 wherein the panel extends axially beyond the open first end of the tube.

19. The system of claim 14 wherein the first end of the slot extends beyond the open end of the tube.

20. The system of claim 14 further comprising a finger hole through the panel adjacent to the slot beyond the open end of the tube for rotating the first end of the slot upward.

21. The system of claim 14 further comprising a plurality of liner bags joined end to end in a strip and gathered in a roll having an outer curve of predetermined diameter, in the tube, the bottom of the trough comprising a curve that in cross section substantially approaches a portion of the outer curve of predetermined diameter.

22. A method of dispensing a container liner comprising the steps of: a. placing the system of claim 1 within a container; b. tilting upward the system of claim 1 by lifting a panel open end upward to expose the tube open end and slot open end; c. inserting a plurality of trash liner bags into the tube open end and simultaneously inserting the end of a strip comprising a first liner bag into the slot open end; d. lowering the panel open end until the system is at rest in the bottom of the container; e. pulling the first liner bag upward to engage a container opening; f. disengaging the first liner bag from the container opening and separating the first liner bag from the plurality of trash liner bags at a predetermined level of fullness; and g. repeating steps e and f, as required.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 40 minutes to about 0 degrees, 44 minutes.

24. The method of claim 22 wherein the angle of divergence is about 0 degrees, 42 minutes and 27 seconds.

25. The method of claim 22 wherein a slot width at the second, closed end is about 0.186 inch and about 0.318 inch at the first, open end.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/593,111 filed Dec. 11, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to waste container liner replacement systems, more specifically to a waste container dispenser that supplies flexible concatenated disposable liners within the waste container, wherein disposable plastic bags are delivered in series, one at a time, to the interior of the container from a gathering of the bags, for lining the container. The receptacle may be reloaded with the plastic bags while it is in the container, or may be removed from the container for filling.

Description of the Prior Art

Waste container liner replacement system art is replete with designs for supplying the liner from the bottom of the container by pulling the new liner up by the bottom of the full used bag.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,451,453 patented Jun. 24, 1969 by E. E. Heck describes a horizontal wall spaced from the bottom wall of the container by a plurality of legs which rest on the bottom wall. A longitudinal slot within the horizontal wall is provided for passing the liners up in the container from below the horizontal wall. A pair of parallel, vertical walls, depending from the bottom of the horizontal wall, one on each side of the slot, parallel the slot. The parallel walls are spaced apart sufficiently to closely receive a roll of plastic bag liners or a box containing the roll.

At each end of this trough of parallel walls is a latch made by a curved member or by a pair of downward depending triangularly shaped walls with bottom lugs. The latches engage the bottom edges of the longitudinal ends of the roll or box in order to support the roll or box next to the horizontal wall between the time that the roll is loaded into the trough, and the time that the horizontal wall is set into the bottom of the container.

The latches are forcibly deflected back in order to load the roll into the trough. The latches predetermine the length of the roll or box.

In order to reload the trough with new bags or a box, the operator reaches into the container, inserts his or her fingers into the slot and withdraws the horizontal wall from the container. It is clear that a portion of the slot must be wide enough to accommodate the fingers, and the horizontal wall should be in balance or it could rotate about the slot during withdrawal and hurt the fingers.

The first bag from a new roll or box is fished through the slot from the bottom, and the roll or box is installed in the trough. The horizontal wall is then lowered into place on its legs, in the container. Holding the horizontal wall for lowering can be done by inserting one or more fingers in the slot, sharing the slot with the bag therein. The wall can be lowered by gripping the bag that is extending upward from the slot, but only if the weight of the wall and bags do not cause the bag to separate or pull additional bags through the slot.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,349,123 patented Sep. 14, 1982 by Y. Yang describes a garbage can which includes a series of packaged and folded plastic bags stored in a package box having a slot through which the bags can be pulled up. A horizontal plate which fits the can so that it isolates the top of the can from the bottom of the can, has a slot that is the same length as the package slot, and a frame comprising two L-shaped legs. Each leg has an upright portion with a top end attached to the plate, and a flat base portion which faces the flat base portion of the other leg. The package box containing the bags is slipped between the legs so that the box rests upon the flat base portions. The first bag is fished up through the superimposed slots and drawn up into the can to line the can.

To replace the bags, the operator must reach into the can and hook the horizontal plate by the plate slot and pull up the plate, frame, and empty package box assembly. This is inconvenient because the plate can tilt during the pull-up operation and allow the empty package box to slide off the tilted flat base portions and fall out by one end from between the L-shaped legs, into the bottom of the empty garbage can.

To reload the assembly, the operator draws the first bag from a new package box and fishes it through the plate slot from the bottom up, then slides the box onto the flat base portions. It is advisable to pull the bag as the box is slid in order to avoid the bag bunching up and jamming between the box and the plate slot.

Chen et al., in U.S. Pat. No. 5,031,793, patented Jul. 16, 1991, discloses a hinged, false bottom, horizontal slotted wall, which rotates upward upon hinges attached to one vertical side wall of the basket. When the slotted wall is rotated upward, it reveals a hollow base having three adjacent parallel troughs.

The center trough holds the roll of plastic bags. Another of the troughs holds deodorant, and the third trough holds a waste container for receiving waste water drippings from the litter in the basket on the chance that there is leakage past the bag.

The hinged wall has two slots, one positioned over the center trough for passing the bag up into the basket, and the other slot positioned over the waste water trough for directing drippings into that trough.

In order to restock the trough with plastic bags, the operator must work within the basket. Reaching into the basket, the operator rotates the hinged wall upward. Reaching further down into the basket, the operator inserts a new roll in the center trough and grips the waste water container, and being careful not to tilt it, draws it up and out of the waste basket and empties it. Reaching back into the container, the operator returns the waste water container to the trough, draws a first bag up from the roll and fishes or threads the first bag from the bottom up through the slot, and rotates the hinged wall down.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,115,935 patented May 26, 1992 by R. Lemongelli, describes trash container in which the bottom is formed into a first open top box having side walls square with the bottom wall. A second trapezoidal shaped box has a top panel that is larger than the bottom panel of the second box. The top panel has a pair of parallel slots through which bags can be drawn from the second box. There are two rolls of bags, one roll for each slot. The second box is installed in the trash container by pressing it directly down into the first box. The top of the first box has a plurality of inwardly directed tabs which extend over the top panel of the second box and hold the second box in the first box. The angled sides of the second trapezoidal box help to guide and wedge the second box into the first box by forcing the top panel inward so it can pass the tabs on the way into the first box.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,738,239 patented Apr. 14, 1998 by B. Triglia and assigned to the Assignee of the present invention, describes a waste container containing at the bottom a panel fastened on a base forming between them a tube having one end blocked and the other end open. A slot with parallel walls in the panel extends the length of the tube and has an open end beyond the open end of the tube. Finger grips in the panel beyond the open end of the tube enable one to tilt up the open end of the slot for simultaneously loading a roll of liner bags in the tube and one bag from the roll in the slot by the open ends of the tube and slot.

The panel/base combination of Triglia works well within a trash container that does not contact the panel. However, when a trash container side wall contacts the panel, it often creates distortion in the slot, making the walls no longer parallel, pinching the liner, and thereby making liner bag passage through the slot difficult or impossible. This limitation severely reduces the versatility of Triglia for use in differing trash container shapes.

Accordingly, there is still a continuing need for improved liner dispensing systems. The present invention fulfills this need and further provides related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is one object of the invention to provide a trash container liner dispensing system which mounts within trash containers of varying shapes without pinching the liner.

It is another object of the invention the trash container system be removable from the trash container.

It is another object that the system can be reloaded with a plurality of liners gathered in a roll.

It is another object that the system can be reloaded without removing the system from the trash container.

It is another object that the system does not require a spindle for the gathered liners.

It is another object that the first liner of the roll can be delivered to the trash container without having to fish the bag through a slot in a wall.

It is another object that the system can be reloaded by liners, and the first liner be delivered to the trash area of the trash container in a single lateral movement of the roll and first liner.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent to a reader upon reading the ensuing description of the invention.

In a first embodiment, a container liner dispensing system includes a panel mounted on a base, the panel having molded as a unit with the panel a first fastener. The base includes molded as a unit with the base a trough and second fastener aligned with the first fastener for fastening the panel on the base. The panel and the trough together form a tube having a length, an axis, a first open end and a blocked second end for receiving a plurality of liner bags joined end to end in a strip and gathered in a roll having an outer curve of predetermined diameter. The panel includes a slot through the panel over the trough substantially lengthwise with the tube, the slot having a first end that is open through an end of the panel, and having a second end. The slot walls diverge from the second end to the first, open end. The panel extends axially beyond the open first end of the tube. The first end of the slot extends beyond the open end of the tube. The panel includes a finger hole through the panel adjacent to the slot beyond the open end of the tube for rotating the first end of the slot upward. The bottom of the trough comprises a curve that in cross section closely approaches a portion of the outer curve of predetermined diameter.

In a second embodiment, the container liner dispensing system further includes a waste container having a bottom wall and a circumferential vertical wall attached to the bottom wall forming an enclosure. The panel and base together are removably mounted in the waste container.

The present invention also includes the method of dispensing liners utilizing the container liner dispensing systems described above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the invention be more fully comprehended, it will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a lined trash container with the trash container liner system of the invention. A portion of the trash container is cut away to show the liner system.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the liner system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the liner system of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a partial cross section view of the liner system latch viewed along 4-4 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective schematic view of the system of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a right-side view of the trash container with liner system of FIG. 1. A portion of the trash container is cut away to show the liner system.

FIG. 7 is a right-side view of the trash container with liner system of FIG. 6 after the liners contained in the system are used out, and the system is being tilted up by an operator's hand for reloading the system with a new supply of liners.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the system of FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before explaining the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the detail of construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the drawings since the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. It is also to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed is for the purpose of description only and not of limitation.

In FIG. 1, trash container 20 includes liner dispensing system 24 which supplied liner bag 28 to the trash container interior for lining 30 the container 20. Cover 32 fits over the container 20 wrapped with the liner bag 28, for sealing the lined container.

Liner bag 28 is one of a plurality of liner bags 34 joined end to end in a strip 42 gathered within trough 36 of the system. Preferably the liners are gathered in a roll, for reasons which will be explained later.

The back end of bag 28 is separable from strip 42 at perforate line 44. When bag 28 is full, the bag is pulled upward out of container 20. As bag 28 is pulled upward, it drags the next bag from the trough 36 by way of slot 48. Bag 28 is then torn from the strip 42 at the perforation 44 which leaves the top end of the next bag open and ready for lining the container 20.

In FIGS. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, liner dispensing system 24 includes panel 50 and base 54, both preferably made from plastic. Base 50 includes in molded as one with the base 54, horizontal shoulders 58 supported by front and back vertical legs 60, 62, 64, and 66, and vertical walls 68 and 70, trough 36, latch openings 82, position bar openings 84, and foot 86. Preferably foot 86 is sealed by trough 36, but may contain an opening through the trough within the confines of wall 88 of the foot.

Panel 50 includes molded as one with the panel, downward depending 92 position bars 96, downward depending flexible latch finger 98, and finger openings 90.

Referring to FIGS. 5, 6, 7, and 8, plurality of liner bags 34 are packaged in a roll 104 of predetermined diameter and length. The bags 34 do not need or require a central shaft or arbor for loading, storage or support in liner dispensing system 24.

Panel 50 snaps onto base 54 and is held immovable on base 54 by position bars 96 in position bar openings 84, and latch fingers 98 in latch openings 82. Panel 50 and trough 36 form a tube 1 02 that is a covered U in cross section. The tube 1 02 is open at one end, and blocked at the other end by vertical wall 70. The cover of the U is flat, is formed by panel 50, and extends axially beyond 116 the open end 106 and axially beyond 122 blocked end 108 the tube 102.

Slot 48 is longer than the tube 102. It extends from the blocked end 108 of tube 102 axially beyond 116 the open end 106 of tube 102. Preferably the slot 48 is parallel with axis 120 of the tube 102 and bisects the top of opening of open end 106. Slot 48 diverges from a second, closed end 52 to a first, open end 56 thereby forming an angle of divergence α. Unlike the prior art, this slot divergence permits liner dispensing system 24 to fit a wide variety of trash container shapes. Even if panel 50 contacts trash container side walls, compressing slot 48, slot divergence allows for smooth, pinch free withdrawal of liner bag 28 through slot 48, regardless of any slot compression.

Slot angle of divergence α, is about 0 degrees, 40 minutes to about 0 degrees, 44 minutes, preferably about 0 degrees, 42 minutes to about 0 degrees, 43 minutes and most preferably about 0 degrees, 42 minutes and 27 seconds. In a preferred embodiment, slot width at second, closed end 53 is about 0.186 inch and, about 0.318 inch at first, open end 56.

System 24 is assembled by snapping panel 50 on base 54. It is inserted into the bottom of trash container 20 wherein it rests with the vertical legs 60, 62, 64, 66, vertical walls 68, 70 and foot 86 on bottom wall 1 40 of container 20 (FIG. 1). Preferably panel 50 closely fits to vertical wall 1 42 around container 20 so that lateral movement of the panel 50 within container 20 is minimal.

The position bar 96 and latch finger 98 are preferred fasteners. Other fasteners molded as a unit may be openings for fastening hardware such as, for example, bolts and nuts.

Reloading of system 24 with bags 34 is convenient and quick. System 24 is tilted upward 146 (FIG. 7) by gripping panel 50 by fingers 148 through finger openings 90 and pulling that end of the panel 50 upward. This exposes open end 106 of the tube 102 and slot open end 110. A new roll 104 is inserted 1 56 (FIG. 8) into the open end 106 of the tube 102 and simultaneously the end of the strip 42 comprising the first liner bag 28 on the roll 104 is inserted 1 58 into the open end of the slot. There is no need to fish the first bag through a slot of restricted length. After the roll 104 and strip 42 is slid into system 24 to the blocked end 108 of the tube 102, the panel 50 is let down by the fingers 1 48 until the system 24 is at rest in the bottom of the trash container 20.

Alternatively, rather than a wall 70 that completely covers the end of the tube, the blocked end 108 of the tube 102 may be blocked by any physical structure that will prevent movement of the roll completely through the tube, for example, a tab.

Preferably the bottom of the tube 102 is curved to closely fit the curve 164 of a full roll so that there is a small space between the full roll and the sides 172 of tube 102 (FIG. 6). This keeps the turning roll 104 generally centered below slot 48, and resists climbing of the roll 104 up wall 172 as it rotates when a liner bag 28 is being drawn through slot 48 from the tube 102. Walls 172 may be made to curve inward adjacent to panel 50 in one embodiment of the invention, although it is easier to mold them vertically straight which is the preferred embodiment.

As there is no spindle required for holding or dispensing the bags 34, the system 24 will dispense bags from a strip of bags that is folded, such as for example in an accordion fold. The folded group of bags can be loaded into the tube as explained above for the roll of bags.

Although the present invention has been described with respect to details of certain embodiments thereof, it is not intended that such details be limitations upon the scope of the invention. It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various modifications and substitutions may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.