Title:
Pedal actuated waste disposal bin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A waste disposal apparatus for containing a trash can therein includes a cabinet having a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, and a base that are connected to each other to define an enclosed interior space, with the front wall defining an opening space. The apparatus also includes a swinging door having a bottom edge that is pivotably connected to the front wall, with the swinging door movable between a closed position where the swinging door blocks the opening space, and an opened position where the swinging door is pivoted away from the interior space of the cabinet. A foot pedal is pivotably connected to the base, and a link system is operationally connected to the foot pedal and the swinging door to pivot the swinging door between the closed and opened positions, while preventing the swinging door from pivoting into the interior space of the cabinet.



Inventors:
Lim, Gary M. (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/155417
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G29/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLER, WILLIAM L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond Sun (Tustin, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A waste disposal apparatus for containing a trash can therein, comprising: a cabinet having a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, and a base that are connected to each other to define an enclosed interior space, with the front wall defining an opening space; a swinging door having a bottom edge that is pivotably connected to the front wall, the swinging door movable between a closed position where the swinging door blocks the opening space, and an opened position where the swinging door is pivoted away from the interior space of the cabinet; a foot pedal pivotably connected to the base; and a link system operationally connected to the foot pedal and the swinging door to pivot the swinging door between the closed and opened positions, while preventing the swinging door from pivoting into the interior space of the cabinet.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a front door pivotably connected to the front wall.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a top panel connected to top ends of the rear wall and the side walls.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a plurality of wheels provided at the base.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further including a handle bar provided on the front wall.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the link system includes: a vertical link bar having a bottom end coupled to the foot pedal, and extending through an opening in the base along one of the side walls to a top end; and a control bar having one end pivotably connected to the top end of the vertical link bar, and another end pivotably connected to the swinging door.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is higher than the top end of the vertical link bar when the swinging door is in the closed position, and the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is lower than the top end of the vertical link bar when the swinging door is in the opened position.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is higher than the bottom edge of the swinging door when the swinging door is in the opened position, and the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is lower than the bottom edge of the swinging door when the swinging door is in the closed position.

9. The apparatus of claim 6, further including: a U-shaped bracket connected to the base; wherein the foot pedal has at least one support leg pivotably connected to the bracket; a horizontal link bar having one end connected to the at least one support leg; and a connecting bar that connects the horizontal link bar and the bottom end of the vertical link bar.

10. The apparatus of claim 6, further including: a biasing element coupled to the vertical link bar, the biasing element normally biasing the vertical link bar in a downward direction.

11. A waste disposal assembly, comprising: a waste disposal apparatus that includes: a cabinet having a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, and a base that are connected to each other to define an enclosed interior space, with the front wall defining an opening space; a swinging door having a bottom edge that is pivotably connected to the front wall, the swinging door movable between a closed position where the swinging door blocks the opening space, and an opened position where the swinging door is pivoted away from the interior space of the cabinet; a foot pedal pivotably connected to the base; and a link system operationally connected to the foot pedal and the swinging door to pivot the swinging door between the closed and opened positions, while preventing the swinging door from pivoting into the interior space of the cabinet; and a trash can having an opened top, the trash can retained inside the interior space.

12. The assembly of claim 11, further including a front door pivotably connected to the front wall.

13. The assembly of claim 11, further including a top panel connected to top ends of the rear wall and the side walls.

14. The assembly of claim 11, further including a plurality of wheels provided at the base.

15. The assembly of claim 11, further including a handle bar provided on the front wall.

16. The assembly of claim 11, wherein the link system includes: a vertical link bar having a bottom end coupled to the foot pedal, and extending through an opening in the base along one of the side walls to a top end; and a control bar having one end pivotably connected to the top end of the vertical link bar, and another end pivotably connected to the swinging door.

17. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is higher than the top end of the vertical link bar when the swinging door is in the closed position, and the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is lower than the top end of the vertical link bar when the swinging door is in the opened position.

18. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is higher than the bottom edge of the swinging door when the swinging door is in the opened position, and the entire control bar is at a vertical level that is lower than the bottom edge of the swinging door when the swinging door is in the closed position.

19. The assembly of claim 16, further including: a U-shaped bracket connected to the base; wherein the foot pedal has at least one support leg pivotably connected to the bracket; a horizontal link bar having one end connected to the at least one support leg; and a connecting bar that connects the horizontal link bar and the bottom end of the vertical link bar.

20. The assembly of claim 16, further including: a biasing element coupled to the vertical link bar, the biasing element normally biasing the vertical link bar in a downward direction.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to garbage disposal apparatus, and in particular, to trash bins of the type having a foot actuated swinging door on an upper portion of one of the walls of the bin for allowing food or trash to be dumped into a trash can contained therein.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Fast-food restaurants and other residential and commercial establishments often provide trash bins that resemble a four-sided cabinet. An open-top trash can is positioned inside the cabinet. The cabinet has a swinging door on an upper portion of one of the walls of the cabinet. To deposit food or trash into the trash can, the user must push open the swinging door, and then insert the food or trash through the opening into the trash can.

Unfortunately, the outer surface of the swinging door is often soiled by dirt and trash. Therefore, it is extremely undesirable for the user to have to use his or her hands to push the outer surface of the swinging door in order to deposit food or trash into the trash can.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,372,271 (Miller et al.) discloses a trash bin that is provided with a foot actuated swinging door, so that the user does not need to push the swinging door to deposit food or trash into the trash can. However, the swinging door in U.S. Pat. No. 5,372,271 (Miller et al.) is pivoted into the interior of the cabinet, so it is still possible for the outer surface of the swinging door to be soiled by dirt and trash because the food or trash may sometimes contact the outer surface as the food or trash is inserted through the opening in the cabinet. In other words, the outer surface of the inswinging door faces the interior of the cabinet, so that food or trash can still contact the outer surface.

Thus, there still remains a need for a garbage disposal apparatus that overcomes the drawbacks described above.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

It is an object of the present invention to provide a garbage disposal apparatus that improves the hygiene and cleanliness of the swinging door.

In order to accomplish the objects of the present invention, the present invention provides a waste disposal apparatus for containing a trash can therein. The apparatus includes a cabinet having a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, and a base that are connected to each other to define an enclosed interior space, with the front wall defining an opening space. The apparatus also includes a swinging door having a bottom edge that is pivotably connected to the front wall, with the swinging door movable between a closed position where the swinging door blocks the opening space, and an opened position where the swinging door is pivoted away from the interior space of the cabinet. A foot pedal is pivotably connected to the base, and a link system is operationally connected to the foot pedal and the swinging door to pivot the swinging door between the closed and opened positions, while preventing the swinging door from pivoting into the interior space of the cabinet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a garbage disposal apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the front door and the swinging door opened.

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the swinging door opened.

FIG. 4 is a cut-away front perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the front door and the swinging door opened.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the swinging door closed.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional side plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the swinging door opened.

FIG. 7 is a cut-away rear perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the swinging door closed.

FIG. 8 is a cut-away rear perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the swinging door opened.

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 shown with the front door and the swinging door opened, and with a trash can positioned inside the cabinet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating general principles of embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

FIGS. 1-9 illustrate a waste disposal apparatus 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, the apparatus 10 includes a cabinet 12 that has a front wall, a rear wall 14 and two side walls 16 and 18 that extend from the rear wall 14. The front wall is defined by a front door 20, a support panel 30, and a swinging door 34. The front door 20 is pivotably connected to the front edge 22 of a side wall 18 so that the front door 20 pivots about the front edge 22 of the side wall 18 as it opens and closes. A base panel 24 is connected to the walls 14, 16, 18 adjacent the bottom thereof (but slightly raised therefrom), and a top panel 26 is connected to the walls 14, 16, 18 adjacent the top thereof. The top panel 26 is positioned slightly offset from the top edges 28 so that its top surface can function as a shelf for receiving trays and the like. The walls 14, 16, 18, the front door 20, and the panels 24, 26 form an enclosure that defines the cabinet 12. Referring to FIG. 9, an open-top trash can 48 is adapted to be retained inside the enclosure, and the front door 20 is sized and configured to allow ingress to and egress from the interior of the cabinet 12 for the open-top trash can 48.

Referring also to FIG. 3, a support panel 30 connects the front edges 22 of the side walls 16, 18 at a location above the front door 20. A handle bar 32 is bolted to the opposing ends of the support panel 30. The swinging door 34 has a bottom edge 35 that is pivotably connected to the top edge of the support panel 30 so that the swinging door 30 can be pivoted about an axis defined by the top edge of the support panel 30. The swinging door 34 covers an opening space 36 in the front wall that is defined by the front edge of the top panel 26, the top edge of the support panel 30, and the front edges 22 of the side walls 16, 18. A link system (described below) couples a foot pedal 38 and the swinging door 34 to allow the swinging door 34 to pivot away from the interior of the cabinet 12, while preventing the swinging door 34 from pivoting into the interior of the cabinet 12.

A plurality of casters or wheels 40 can be provided on the bottom of the base panel 24 to allow the cabinet 12 to be conveniently moved from one location to another.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-8, the link system includes a vertical link bar 50, a horizontal link bar 52, a connecting bar 54, and a control bar 56. The foot pedal 38 is generally U-shaped and has two support bars 60 and 62 that are connected by a pedal portion 64. A U-shaped bracket 66 is connected to the bottom of the base panel 24, and has legs 68 and 70 extending from the bottom of the base panel 24. The support bars 60 and 62 are pivotably connected to the legs 68 and 70, respectively, so that the support bars 60, 62 (and the pedal portion 64) can be pivoted up and down about the bracket 66 along a pivot axis that is defined by the aligned connections for the bars 60, 62 and their respective legs 68, 70. The horizontal link bar 52 extends transverse to the direction of the support bars 60, 62, and has one end that is connected to (e.g., formed together as one piece with) the inner end of the support bar 62. The other end of the horizontal link bar 52 is connected to (e.g., formed together as one piece with) the front end of the connecting bar 54. The connecting bar 54 and the support bars 60, 62 extend generally parallel to each other, and in one embodiment, the bars 60, 62, 52, 54 and the pedal portion 64 can be formed in one piece (e.g., in a metal material). In fact, the bars 60, 62, 52, 54 and the pedal portion 64 are positioned below the base panel 24.

The rear end of the connecting bar 54 is pivotably connected to the bottom end of the vertical link bar 50. The vertical link bar 50 extends through an elongated opening 72 in the base panel 24 adjacent the side wall 18, and vertically through the interior of the cabinet 12 (but along the side wall 18), where the top end of the vertical link bar 50 is pivotably connected to the rear end of the control bar 56. The front end of the control bar 56 is pivotably connected to a side edge of the swinging door 34. Thus, the entire control bar 56 is positioned above support panel 30 at all times, and the control bar 56 functions to push and pull the swinging door 34 to cause the swinging door 34 to open and close, respectively.

A biasing element 55 (e.g., a spring) has opposing ends coupled to a portion of the vertical link bar 50 and the base panel 24, and functions to normally bias the vertical link bar 50 downwardly.

The operation of the link system is illustrated in connection with FIGS. 3-8. In the normal rest position shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the swinging door 34 is closed to completely cover the opening space 36. When in this closed position, the swinging door 34 assumes a completely vertical orientation. To open the swinging door 34, the user steps on the pedal portion 38 (see FIGS. 6 and 8), causing the support bars 60, 62 to pivot about the stationary legs 68, 70 of the bracket 66 so that the pedal portion 38 pivots downwardly while the rear of the support bars 60, 62 pivot upwardly. The upward pivot of the support bar 62 translates into an upward motion for the horizontal link bar 52 and the connecting bar 54, which in turn pivots the vertical link bar 50 upwardly. The upward motion of the vertical link bar 50 pivots the control bar 56 downwardly, with the downward motion of the control bar 56 pushing the swinging door 34 down and towards the exterior of the cabinet 12, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6. Note that the entire control bar 56 is at a vertical level that is higher than the top end of the vertical link bar 50 when the swinging door 34 is closed (see FIG. 5), and the entire control bar 56 is at a vertical level that is lower than the top end of the vertical link bar 50 when the swinging door 34 is opened (see FIG. 6). In addition, the entire control bar 56 is at a vertical level that is higher than the bottom edge 35 of the swinging door 34 when the swinging door 34 is in the opened position (see FIG. 6), and the entire control bar 56 is at a vertical level that is lower than the bottom edge 35 of the swinging door 34 when the swinging door 34 is in the closed position (see FIG. 5). When in the opened position shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, the user can insert food or trash into the interior of the cabinet 12 without contacting the outer surface of the swinging door 34. Any contact would be with the inner surface of the swinging door 34, which can be soiled without serious concern because the inner surface of the swinging door 34 faces the interior of the cabinet 12.

When the user releases the pedal portion 64, the biasing element 55 will normally bias the vertical link bar 50 downwardly, thereby causing the connecting bar 54, the horizontal link bar 52, and the rear of the support bars 60, 62 to pivot downwardly, with the pedal portion 64 pivoting upwardly (from FIGS. 6 and 8 to FIGS. 5 and 7). As the vertical link bar 50 is pulled downwardly, the vertical link bar 50 pulls the control bar 56, which in turn pulls the swinging door 34 upwardly towards the opening space 36 until the swinging door 34 is fitted in the space 36 and oriented vertically therein. The sizes of the vertical link bar 50 and the control bar 56, and the location of the connection point of these bars 50, 56, define the limit to which the swinging door 34 can pivot upwardly, thereby preventing the swinging door 34 from pivoting into the interior of the cabinet 12.

Thus, the present invention provides a waste disposal apparatus 10 that has a swinging door 34 which opens outwardly so that the outer surface of the swinging door 34 will not come into contact with the food or trash that is being deposited into the cabinet 12 of the apparatus 10. The present invention also provides a simple link system that controls the opening and closing motion of the swinging door 34, and which prevents the swinging door 34 from pivoting into the interior of the cabinet 12.

While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true scope and spirit of the present invention.