Title:
Disposal bag and system for disposing of sanitary products
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for disposal of sanitary products adapted for use with a sanitary disposal unit, is provided. The system includes a plurality of bags. Each bag has an inner surface, an outer surface and an edge providing an opening into the bag. The system also includes a bag frame which includes an upper perimeter and at least one leg. The bag frame is configured to be positioned in a holding area of a sanitary disposal unit. The bag frame is configured to hold a plurality of bags while holding the edge of one of the plurality of bags coupled to the upper perimeter of the frame. The frame is configured to hold the one bag in an opened position such that the one bag and frame cooperate to prevent sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit. When the one bag is removed from frame when the bag is filled, the one bag is configured to fold together to seal to itself to provide a closure.



Inventors:
Jackson, Wanda Walton (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Welchel, Debra N. (Woodstock, GA, US)
Mitchell, Joseph (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Merrill, Thomas Glenn (Cumming, GA, US)
Mayfield, Frances W. (Marietta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/217036
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (Neenah, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for disposal of sanitary products adapted for use with a sanitary disposal unit, the system comprising: a plurality of bags, each bag having an inner surface, an outer surface and an edge providing an opening into the bag; and a bag frame including an upper perimeter and at least one leg, the bag frame configured to be positioned in a holding area of a sanitary disposal unit, bag frame configured to hold a plurality of bags while holding the edge of one of the plurality of bags coupled to the upper perimeter of the frame, the frame configured to hold the one bag in an opened position such that the one bag and frame cooperate to prevent sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the bag includes a bonding material.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the bonding material releasably couples the bag to the frame.

4. The system of claim 2, wherein the bonding material couples the bag frame when it is removed from the frame and folded together.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the system includes an odor sorbing material.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the odor sorbing material includes an activated carbon.

7. The system of claim 5, wherein the odor sorbing material is disposed on a sheet of paperboard which is disposed in the bag.

8. The system of claim 5, wherein the odor sorbing material is disposed on at least a portion of the bag.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the bag in its opened extended position on the frame prevents sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein when the bag is removed from the frame and the bag is folded together it seals and provides a closure.

11. The system of claim 1, wherein the bag frame includes a holder pivotally coupled thereto.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the holder is positioned over the perimeter of the frame to hold the upper end of the bag on the perimeter.

13. A system for disposal of sanitary products adapted for use with a sanitary disposal unit, the system comprising: a plurality of bags, each bag having an inner surface, an outer surface and an edge providing an opening into the bag; a bag frame including an upper perimeter and at least one leg, the bag frame configured to be positioned in a holding area of a sanitary disposal unit, bag frame configured to hold a plurality of bags while holding the edge of one of the plurality of bags coupled to the upper perimeter of the frame, the frame configured to hold the one bag in an opened position such that the one bag and frame cooperate to prevent sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit; and a holder coupled to the bag frame, wherein the holder is configured to be positioned over the upper edge of the one bag on the upper perimeter of the bag frame.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the bag includes a bonding material.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the bonding material releasably couples the bag to the frame.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the bonding material couples the bag frame when it is removed from the frame and folded together.

17. The system of claim 13, wherein the system includes an odor sorbing material.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the odor sorbing material includes an activated carbon.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein the odor sorbing material is disposed on a sheet of paperboard which is disposed in the bag.

20. The system of claim 17, wherein the odor sorbing material is disposed on at least a portion of the bag.

21. The system of claim 13, wherein the bag in its opened extended position on the frame prevents sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit.

22. The system of claim 13, wherein when the bag is removed from the frame and the bag is folded together it seals and provides a closure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The current sanitary napkin disposal bins used in public bath room facilities use paper, cellophane or plastic bags which are loosely placed in the bins. The plastic bags, even when placed over the upper edge of the bin, often slips down into the bin when the bag becomes filled. Paper and/or cellophane bags frequently collapse or fold inward, allowing sanitary products and the like to be disposed between the bag and a wall of the bin, thereby soiling the bin.

Removal of sanitary products creates a problem as well. Maintenance staff must remove the bag, the sanitary products which have fallen between the bag and the wall of the bin. Further, maintenance personnel must then clean the bin before placing a new bag in the bin, so that the bin does not become malodorous. Bag removal and bin cleaning are hazardous activities for maintenance personnel, who must handle with care sanitary products and other refuse contaminated with body fluids and the like.

An improved disposal bag and system for disposing of sanitary products would be desirable. Such a bag would desirably be configured so that it did not slip down into the bin, resulting in sanitary products and/or other materials being deposited between the bag and the wall of the bin. Desirably, such a bag would provide a structure which would hold the bag in place on the bin. In addition, such a bag would desirably provide a safe and easy way for maintenance personnel to remove the bag and seal it. Further, such a disposal bag would provide odor absorbent material to reduce or eliminate odor therein.

DEFINITIONS

As used herein, the terms “sanitary products” include, but are not limited to, feminine napkins, tampons, colostomy bags, ileostomy bags, male incontinence pads, baby diapers, disposable training pants for children, adult incontinence products including pads, disposable underwear, and so forth.

As used herein, the term “fasteners” means devices that fasten, join, connect, secure, hold, or clamp components together. Fasteners include, but are not limited to, screws, nuts and bolts, rivets, snap-fits, tacks, nails, loop fasteners, and interlocking male/female connectors, such as fishhook connectors, a fish hook connector includes a male portion with a protrusion on its circumference. Inserting the male portion into the female portion substantially permanently locks the two portions together.

As used herein, the term “couple” includes, but is not limited to, joining, connecting, fastening, linking, or associating two things integrally or interstitially together.

As used herein, the term “configure” or “configuration” means to design, arrange, set up, or shape with a view to specific applications or uses. For example: a military vehicle that was configured for rough terrain; configured the computer by setting the system's parameters.

As used herein, the term “hinge” refers to a jointed or flexible device that connects and permits pivoting or turning of a part to a stationary component. Hinges include, but are not limited to, metal pivotable connectors, such as those used to fasten a door to frame, and living hinges. Living hinges may be constructed from plastic and formed integrally between two members. A living hinge permits pivotable movement of one member in relation to another connected member.

As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to something which is done to a great extent or degree; for example, “substantially covered” means that a thing is at least 95% covered.

As used herein, the term “alignment” refers to the spatial property possessed by an arrangement or position of things in a straight line or in parallel lines.

As user herein, the terms “orientation” or “position” used interchangeably herein refer to the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated; for example, “the position of the hands on the clock.”

As used herein, the term “sanitary disposal unit” refers to a unit provided on or in a wall or other structure of a public bathroom, that is, in the stall of each area containing a toilet, which is configured to receive sanitary products.

These terms may be defined with additional language in the remaining portions of the specification.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In response to the difficulties and problems discussed above, a system for disposal of sanitary products adapted for use with a sanitary disposal unit, is provided. The system includes a plurality of bags. Each bag has an inner surface, an outer surface and an edge providing an opening into the bag. The system also includes a bag frame which includes an upper perimeter and at least one leg. The bag frame is configured to be positioned in a holding area of a sanitary disposal unit. The bag frame is configured to hold a plurality of bags while holding the edge of one of the plurality of bags coupled to the upper perimeter of the frame. The frame is configured to hold the one bag in an opened position such that the one bag and frame cooperate to prevent sanitary products from falling between the bag and a sidewall of the sanitary disposal unit. When the one bag is removed from frame when the bag is filled, the one bag is configured to fold together to seal to itself to provide a closure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of one of a plurality of disposal bags stretched over a perimeter of a bag frame, showing the front of the frame;

FIG. 2 is perspective view of the disposal bags and bag frame of FIG. 1 but showing the plurality of bags disposed at the back of the frame;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the bags and bag frame of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the bag frame with a plurality of bags positioned on the attachment flange;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the disposal bag and frame positioned in a sanitary disposal unit;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 but showing a holder pivotably mounted to the bag frame, the holder in an upright position; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2, but showing the holder of FIG. 6 in its mounted position over the upper edge of the bag positioned on the frame.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to one or more embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example and embodiment is provided by way of explanation of the invention, and is not meant as a limitation of the invention. For example, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment may be used with another embodiment to yield still a further embodiment. It is intended that the invention include these and other modifications and variations as coming within the scope and spirit of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1-7- in general, a bag frame 10 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 which is commonly used in a sanitary disposal unit (FIG. 5) which is mounted to or formed into a wall or similar structure in a public bath room. One such sanitary disposal unit is designated by the numeral 12. The sanitary disposal unit may include a bin (not shown). The bag holding frame 10 desirably replaces the bin. Alternatively, the bag frame 10 fits within the bin (not shown). The sanitary disposal unit desirably includes a cover or door 14 and a holding area 16 configured to hold the bag frame 10.

The bag frame 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, is desirably, but not by way of limitation tubular, and it is formed from light weight plastic, metal, cardboard, paperboard, or any combination thereof. It includes a perimeter 18 providing an opening 19 that desirably is generally rectangular in shape. The bag frame 10 desirably includes at least one leg, and in this instance a pair of legs 20 are provided. The bag holding frame 10 includes an attachment flange 22 which is coupled to the perimeter 18. The bag frame 10 operates as a structure to hold a plurality of disposal bags 40, which are desirable releasable coupled to the attachment flange 22. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the present configuration of bag frame 10 is but one non-limiting example thereof. Any configuration that operates as shown and/or described herein may be used.

The disposal bag 40 may be formed as one continuous unit having a shape which generally follows the rectangular shape and opening of the bag holder frame 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. Alternatively, the bag 40 may be formed from one or two substantially flat panels which are heat sealed together to provide a generally rectangular bag 40 (FIG. 4). The bag 40 includes an outer surface 42 and an inner surface 43. The bag 40 may also includes a first side 44 and a second side 45. An opening 46 is desirably provided along an upper edge 48 of an upper end 49 of the bag 40. The upper edge 48 is desirably coupled to both the attachment flange 22 and the perimeter 18 of the bag holding frame 10. The configuration of the bag 40 is non-limiting, and any configuration for the bag may be used.

The disposal bag 40 is one of a plurality of disposal bags 40. The plurality of the bags 40 desirably each include a tab 50 having an opening therein 52 which permits the plurality of bags 40 to be coupled to the bag holding frame 10, as shown in FIGS. 2-3.

Each bag 40 each desirably includes a bonding material 68 (FIG. 4) which is desirably positioned on an outer surface 42 of the bag 40 and the bonding material 68 is desirably positioned at least opposite the tab 50 and adjacent-the upper edge 48. In addition, the bag 40 desirably includes a bonding material 68 disposed around the opening 46 on the inner surface 43 of the bag 40. The bonding material 68 may include, for example, but not by way of limitation, an adhesive, such as a pressure sensitive adhesive, a cohesive adhesive, such as a latex, and so forth. When a pressure sensitive adhesive is used, it is desirably covered by a release strip 70 (FIGS. 1 and 2).

Each new bag 40 in the plurality of bags desirably is positioned such that its outer surface 42 near its upper edge 48 is positioned over the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10. When the bag 40 becomes filled, the release strips 70 on the inner surface 43 near the upper end 49 are removed and deposited in the bag 40. The tab 50 is lifted from the attachment flange 22, and the upper end 49, for example, the first and second sides 44, 45 of the bag 40 are pressed together along the upper end 49 so that the bonding material 68 provides closure and sealing of the bag 40. The bonding material 68 on the inner surface 43 of the bag 40 adheres to itself to create a secure closure of the bag 40.

Each bag 40 desirably includes an odor sorbing material disposed on or in the bag 40. A sheet of cardboard or paperboard 74 may be treated with an odor sorbing material and included in or on the bag 40. Alternatively, the treated sheet of paperboard 74 may be positioned as a header (not shown) upon which the plurality of bags are held and/or attached together on the bag frame 10. Desirably, such a sheet of paperboard 74, as illustrated in FIG. 1, will be configured slightly smaller than a lower end 76 of the bag 40 so that the sheet of paperboard 74 will automatically fall to the lower end 76 of the bag.

The sheet of paperboard 74 is desirably treated with an odor sorbing material such as activated carbon. One such activated carbon is NUCHAR SA activated carbon from Westco Corporation, New York, N.Y. For example, to provide such a sheet of paperboard 72, a mixture of 100 grams sodium silicate at 38.3% solids and 19.2 grams of activated carbon is dispersed in 20 grams of water. A final coating formulation having a solids of about 41% was obtained with the solids content consisting of about 33% carbon and 67% binder. The carbon concentration of the coating was about 14%. This formulation was applied to an uncoated side of paperboard. Such as PRINTKOTE bleached paperboard (available from Westvaco Corporation, New York, N.Y.) using a No. 12 wire wound rod at a coat weight of about 26 lbs/ream (ream size 3000 ft2) to a miminal thickness of about 1.2 mils. The weight of carbon in the applied coating was about 3.8 mg/in2

Starch or polyvinyl alcohol may be used as the binder system. Coating formulations useful in the present invention desirably have a solids content of from about 30-45% depending upon the method of application. Coat weights may range from 3-26 lbs/ream, and the activated carbon content of the coating may range from about 20-95%, depending upon the degree of odor absorption desired. One method of applying activated carbon to paperboard is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,540,916, to Parks, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein for all purposes. Another method of applying activated carbon to articles is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,417,424 to Bewick-Sonntag et al., which is hereby incorporated by reference herein for all purposes.

Moreover, adhesives, such as pressure sensitive adhesives, may also be used as the binder system. Such a binder permits the activated carbon to be applied to plastics and/or polymers. As such, for example, but not by way of limitation, the inner surface 43 of the bag 40, or at least a portion thereof, may be treated with an activated carbon coating. Other activated carbon treatments, such as activated carbon ink, may be used as well for any portion of the bag 40.

A holder 80 may be used to assist in holding the upper edge 48 of the bag 40 on the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. The holder 80 is desirably pivotably coupled to the bag frame 10. The holder 80 is desirably a generally rectangular structure or closely follows the shape of the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10. The holder includes an upper surface 82, a lower surface 84 which contacts the perimeter 18, and an outer perimeter 86. The lower surface 84 may include grooves (not shown) to permit the holder 80 to sit firmly on the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10. When the bag 40 becomes filled, the holder 80 assists in retaining the bag 40 on the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10 by providing weight and friction against the upper end 49 of the bag 40 so that the bag 40 does not pull away from the bag frame 10. When the bag 40 is to be removed, the holder 80 desirably pivots upward, away from the bag frame 10 so that the bag 40 may be removed from the perimeter 18 thereof.

The bag 40 may be formed partially or completely from plastic, such as a polymer film. Preferably, the bag 40 is formed to be substantially non-permeable to liquids. The holder 80, or a portion thereof, may be formed from metal, plastic, cardboard, and so forth. Desirably, the bag frame 10 and bag 40 provide a system 90 which is a disposable one-use system of disposal of sanitary products.

In a method of use, a plurality of disposable bags 40 which are coupled together desirably via there tabs 50 are provided. A bag frame 10 is also desirably provided. The bags 40 are coupled to the bag frame 10 via positioning the openings 52 in the tabs 50 over the attachment flange 22 (FIG. 4). A first bag is disposed on the perimeter 18 of the bag holder 10 by disposing its outer surface 42 adjacent its upper edge 48 over the perimeter 18 of the bag holder 10 (FIGS. 1-3).

The holder 80 is then positioned over the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10 so that the holder is positioned against the upper edge 48 of the bag 40. This positioning, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, provides a wide opening 46 into the bag 40. The bag frame 10 is desirably positioned in the sanitary disposal unit 12 such that the bag frame 10 is positioned against sidewalls 88 of the sanitary disposal unit 12. In this position, the bag frame 10 prevents a user from inadvertently disposing sanitary products between the bag and a wall of the sanitary disposal unit 12 or bin therein (not shown), because the perimeter 18 of the bag frame 10 along with the holder 80 substantially horizontally fills the holding area 16 of the sanitary disposal unit 12. In this manner, the bag frame 10 is configured to hold the bag 40 in an opened position such that the bag 40 and bag frame 10 cooperate to prevent sanitary products from falling between the bag 40 and a wall of the sanitary disposal unit 12.

When the bag 40 is full, maintenance personnel easily lift the holder 80 and detach the bag via the tab 50 from the remaining plurality of empty bags 40. The release strips positioned adjacent the inner surface 43 of the upper end 49 are removed and disposed in the bag 40, and the two sides 44, 45 are pressed together. In this manner, the bag is configured to seal itself to provide a closure to the bag 40. In the meantime, the next bag 40 in the plurality of bags 40 is desirably positioned over the bag frame 10, as previously described.

While the present invention has been described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the subject matter encompassed by way of the present invention is not to be limited to those specific embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended for the subject matter of the invention to include all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as can be included within the spirit and scope of the following claims.