Title:
Kit for modifying a trash can or refuse container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit for modifying a trash receptacle or rubbish container which generally receives a plastic bag for a liner so as to facilitate the removal and release of the plastic liner containing the rubbish from the trash can when the plastic bag is full. The kit includes a determinable number of sleeves defining air passageways and an adhesive element for attaching each sleeve to an inner sidewall of a container or receptacle to alleviate suction between the wall of the receptacle and the plastic bag liner.



Inventors:
Horton, Rodney (Dorchester, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/259526
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/26/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniels Patent Law PLLC (Concord, NH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kit for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35), the kit comprising: a sleeve (3) having a top surface (5) and a bottom surface (7) and a plurality of dividers extending substantially perpendicular to and between the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7), the sleeve (3) having at least a passageway (15) defined by the plurality of dividers and a portion of the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7), the passageway (15) having a first opening at a first end (17) of the sleeve (3) communicating with a second opening at a second end (19) of the sleeve (3); and at least an adhesive strip capable of retaining and supporting the sleeve (3) against an inner sidewall (9) of the trash receptacle (35).

2. The kit for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35) as set forth in claim 1, wherein each divider further comprises one of a longitudinal crease and a bend (21) extending between the first opening and the second opening of the passageway (15) to facilitate compressibility of the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7) relative to one another.

3. The kit for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35) as set forth in claim 1, wherein the top and bottom surface (5, 7) are provided with a plurality of perforations (31, 33) to separate the sleeve (3) into at least two separate pieces comprising a plurality of dividers and at least one passageway (15).

4. A method for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35) comprising the steps of: forming a sleeve (3) having a top surface (5) and a bottom surface (7) and a plurality of dividers extending substantially perpendicular to and between the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7); defining at least a passageway (15) in the sleeve (3) between the plurality of dividers and portions of the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7), the passageway (15) having a first opening at a first end (17) of the sleeve (3) communicating with a second opening at a second end (19) of the sleeve (3); and applying an adhesive (4) to the bottom surface (7) of the sleeve (3); and aligning one of the first and second ends (17, 19) of the sleeve (3) adjacent an inner bottom of the trash receptacle (35), and the other of the first or second end (17, 19) adjacent an inner rim of the trash receptacle (35), and affixing the sleeve (3) via the adhesive (4) to an inner sidewall of the trash receptacle to provide at least an air flow passage (15) between the inner rim and inner bottom of the trash receptacle (35).

5. The method for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35) as set forth in claim 4 further comprising the step of forming one of the longitudinal crease and the bend (21) in each divider, the crease or bend (21) extending between the first opening and the second opening of the passageway (15) to facilitate compressibility of the top and bottom surfaces (5, 7) relative to one another.

6. The method for modifying a trash receptacle (35) to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle (35) as set forth in claim 4 further comprising the step of cutting the plurality of perforations (31, 33) in the top and bottom surface (5, 7) of the sleeve (3) to separate the sleeve (3) into at least two separate pieces comprising a plurality of dividers and at least one passageway (15).

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a kit for modifying a trash receptacle or rubbish container which generally receives a plastic bag for a liner so as to facilitate the removal and release of the plastic liner containing the rubbish from the trash can when the plastic bag is full. More specifically, the kit includes a determinable number of sleeves and an adhesive element for attaching each sleeve to an inner sidewall of a container or receptacle to alleviate suction between the wall of the receptacle and the plastic bag liner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Plastic trash can liners are commonly known and used in domestic and commercial applications to facilitate the containment and handling of refuse which is placed into a trash receptacle or container. Although they present the advantages of being moisture-proof, sealable to prevent the escape of malodorous emanations and less expensive, the plastic film trash liners are so flexible that they are structurally incapable of supporting themselves in an upright and open position when empty. As a result, the trash liner must be contained within a support structure. Because the liner is so thin, the support structure must not present puncture points which might penetrate the liner.

The liners are often used in receptacles with a volume of 1-20 gallons or more. If the liner is filled to a density of even 10 lbs/ft 3 (about one-sixth the density of water), the liner could weigh up to 27 lbs. When fully expanded within the receptacle, the trash liner will contour itself closely to the interior surface of the receptacle. As the liner is removed from the receptacle, the close fit around the interior circumference is so good that, unless there are internal structures in the receptacle to allow air flow past the receptacle-liner interface, the liner will act as a piston within a cylinder and the vacuum created between the trash liner and the receptacle will increase the difficulty in removing the liner. In addition to increasing the difficulty of removal, this increases the probability of tearing the thin liner walls.

A vacuum seal is created between the trash can and the liner because of the inability for air to replace the volume being removed from the trash can. Under the basic scientific principals which govern pressure, a basic explanation can be given. When a bag of garbage is resting in a trash can, the pressure in the enclosed area between the outside of the bag and the inside of the trash can is generally the ambient pressure. Ambient pressure is also acting on the outside of the garbage can, as well as just about everything else in the room, house and neighborhood. As the garbage bag is being pulled out of the trash can, there remains an enclosed space sealed by the outside of the garbage bag and the inner walls of the trash can. When the bag is being lifted out, the volume defined by the seal between the bag and the trash can increases. However, conservation principles provide that although the volume is increasing, no mass is being introduced and, therefore, the pressure inside the increasing volume will decrease. It is this decreasing pressure on the inside of the trash can that creates the vacuum. The only remedy to revert this vacuum pressure (i.e., pressure lower than ambient), is to either add mass such as air or any other substance to fill the space or to lower the garbage bag to return the pressure space back to its original volume.

Attempts have been made to address this problem, however, few have performed adequately. Some trash cans have been developed which have rigid ventilation structures in the corners of the trash can which allow for air to pass through. These trash cans, however, are limited by their size and color depending on the manufacturer's selection. Furthermore, these trash cans are also limited by their shape, whereas no corners exist in round trash cans.

Another attempt at correcting this problem can be found in trash cans which have built-in chambers or lips on the inside surface. Again, these trash cans are limited to their specific structure and add additional cost to the consumer by the increased difficulty in manufacturing. In fact, it is almost impossible and completely uneconomical to injection mold such features into a trash can. Therefore there is a desire in the market for the ability to overcome the problem with the vacuum seal while allowing the consumer the ability to choose and select any design, color or manufacture of trash receptacle or container and utilizing an inexpensive kit made from corrugated polyethylene or plastic which when added to the trash can provides release of the above noted seal.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is a need in the art for a kit for modifying a common trash can to overcome the previously discussed problems. The present invention is directed at further solutions to address this need.

One object of the present invention is to provide a kit for modifying a trash can or refuse container to alleviate the suction caused by the outward force of contained rubbish causing the plastic bag liner to seal against the inner wall of the trash receptacle.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a sleeve which does not significantly alter the inside dimensions of the receptacle so that the amount of rubbish, which can be stored in the container, is not effected by application of the kit.

Yet still further object of the invention is to produce an inexpensive kit which can be easily modified in length and width and adhered or attached to any desired inside surface of the receptacle.

Yet another important aspect of the present invention is to enable sufficient air-flow through the sleeve to facilitate removal of the liner from the trash receptacle and minimize the potential of puncture of the liner during removal from the trash receptacle.

The present invention also relates to a kit for modifying a trash receptacle to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle, the kit comprising a sleeve having a top surface and a bottom surface and a plurality of dividers extending substantially perpendicular to and between the top and bottom surfaces, the sleeve having at least a passageway defined by the plurality of dividers and a portion of the top and bottom surfaces, the passageway having a first opening at a first end of the sleeve communicating with a second opening at a second end of the sleeve; and at least an adhesive strip capable of retaining and supporting the sleeve against an inner sidewall of the trash receptacle.

The present invention also relates to a method for modifying a trash receptacle to facilitate the extraction of a trash can liner from the trash receptacle comprising the steps of forming a sleeve having a top surface and a bottom surface and a plurality of dividers extending substantially perpendicular to and between the top and bottom surfaces; defining at least a passageway in the sleeve between the plurality of dividers and portions of the top and bottom surfaces, the passageway having a first opening at a first end of the sleeve communicating with a second opening at a second end of the sleeve; and applying an adhesive to the bottom surface of the sleeve, and aligning one of the first and second ends of the sleeve adjacent an inner bottom of the trash receptacle and the other of the first or second end adjacent an inner rim of the trash receptacle and affixing the sleeve via the adhesive to an inner sidewall of the trash receptacle to provide at least an air flow passage between the inner rim and inner bottom of the trash receptacle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is side perspective view of the ventilation sleeve for the kit in one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partial front-elevational view of the ventilation sleeve for the kit in one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the ventilation sleeve with perforations for the kit in one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view of a trash can with the kit in one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5A is a top cross-sectional view of a substantially rectangular trash can with the kit in one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5B is a top cross-sectional view of a substantially round trash can with the kit in one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a ventilating sleeve 3 with adhesive strips 4 which make up at least a portion of the kit for modifying a trash can or refuse container in accordance with the present invention. The sleeve 3 has an axis A defined along the longitudinal length L of the sleeve 3 and a lateral width W perpendicular thereto. The sleeve 3 has a substantially planar top surface 5 and a parallel aligned substantially planar bottom surface 7. The top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 each have a respective inner side 9 facing one another and a plurality of spaced apart inner webs 11 extend between the inner sides 9 to maintain the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 spaced a desired distance from one another. For the applications as described below, the top and bottom surfaces are generally spaced in the range of about 1-20 mm and preferably in the range of about 4-10 mm apart.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the inner webs 11 extend substantially perpendicularly between the inner side 9 of the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 axially parallel to one another and the axis A as defined by the length of the sleeve 3. The inner webs 11 have a length generally corresponding to the overall length of the sleeve, a height t defining the spacing between the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7. The adjacent webs define a plurality of axial ventilation passageways 15 extending parallel to the central axis A from a first end 17 to a second end 19 of the main sleeve 3. The ventilation passageways 15 are thus defined having opposing sides formed by the immediately adjacent inner webs 11 and a top wall and bottom wall, respectively, defined by respective portions of the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 of the sleeve 3 itself.

These ventilation passageways 15 define a plurality of adjacent through bores, having the height t being in the range of about 1/16th to ¼ of an inch thick. The webs 11 may be spaced apart a similar distance, i.e., about 1/16th to ¼ of an inch, but may also be a bit spaced farther apart in the range of 1/16 to ½ of an inch, if desired. These dimensions accordingly define a substantially box, square or rectangular profile to each of the ventilation passageways 15. Other shapes or profiles to the ventilation passageways 15 may also be defined. For example, as seen in FIG. 2, each web 11 may be provided with a longitudinal crease 21 running the length of the web 11 between the first and second end 17, 19 of the sleeve 3 to effect a substantially parallelepiped profile to the passageways 15. This longitudinal crease 21 is important as it permits a certain degree of flexibility and compressibility to the individual passageways 15 and the sleeve 3 itself where the creased webs act as a sort of spring. In this embodiment, each crease 21 divides a first wall portion 23 and a second wall portion 25 on either side of the crease or bend 21. The first and second wall portions 23, 25 are conjoined at the crease 21 and extend therefrom to contact and support either the top or bottom surface 5, 7 of the sleeve 3.

Where the crease forms, a generally obtuse angle 27 between the first and second wall portion 23, 25, a certain spring bias or amount of compressibility will be accorded to the web 11. In other words, the obtuse angle 27 affords a slight spring bias to the web 11 when the web 11 is compressed such that when a force acts on the top or bottom surface 5, 7 of the sleeve 3, a web or webs 11, in the general vicinity of the force will allow the top or bottom surface 5, 7 to be slightly displaced towards one another. The slightly bent web 11 is permitted to bend or be compressed about the crease 21, but because it maintains a certain spring bias, the creased web 11 will push outward against the force and the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 will be moved away from one another when the force is removed. As can be appreciated, this permits the top surface and bottom surface 5, 7 to be compressed and brought closer to one another depending on the pressure or force applied to this extent and to return to a neutral position once the pressure is removed.

The creased web 11 is provided with enough spring bias to resist and rebound from even a complete collapse where pressure forces the first and second wall portions 23, 25 into planar relationship effectively collapsing the ventilation passageway 15. The webs 11, as well as the top and bottom surfaces 5, 7, may be made of any material, but preferably a semi-rigid plastic, such as polyethylene or polystyrene. This means that even where a substantial amount of refuse is packed into a trash receptacle and the compacted trash causes extreme pressure on the sleeve 3, the ventilation passageways 15 will resist collapse and even if compressed to some extent will maintain the ventilation passageway 15 to permit air-flow therethrough, and also rebound to their original size once pressure from the compacted trash is removed.

The outer side of the bottom surface 7 is provided with an adhesive element. The adhesive element could be any known type of adhesive coating, tape or strip 4 sufficient to support the weight of the sleeve 3 against a plastic or metal inner wall of the trash receptacle 35. The adhesive 4 may be directly applied to the bottom surface 7 of the sleeve 3 and may have a removable backing 6 to protect the adhesive 4 that will be applied to the inner wall of the container or receptacle 35. In another aspect of the kit, the adhesive element may also be provided entirely separate from the sleeve 3 so that it may be applied to the sleeve 3 at any desired location to facilitate securing of the sleeve 3 to the inner wall of the container or receptacle 35.

It is to be appreciated that the sleeve 3 may be provided with as many ventilation passageways 15, i.e., throughbores, as desired to facilitate an adequate passage of air therethrough to release the plastic liner. The kit may contain any number of sleeves of any similar or different lengths between the first end 17 and the second end 19 so as to fit any number of different receptacles 35 having different depths.

As seen in FIG. 3, the sleeve 3 may even be provided with lateral and longitudinal perforations 33, 31 to facilitate the division of the sleeve 3 into separate pieces or to shorten them to fit within a desired container or receptacle 35. The top and bottom surfaces 5, 7 are in this case provided with a series of opposing perforations generally running at least the length and potentially the width W of the sleeve. The lengthways or longitudinal perforations 31 are generally formed in the top and bottom walls of the ventilation passageways 15 parallel to axis A so that a user can readily separate a portion of the sleeve 3 into at least two and, potentially more pieces, depending on the number of perforations formed in the sleeve 3. Because the lengthways or longitudinal perforations 31 are formed in the middle of the ventilation passageways 15, the sleeve 3 is easily split between webs 11. With the width ways or lateral perforations 33 there is the further difficulty in that the webs 11 may not be as easily separated across the width of the sleeve 3. However, with appropriate manufacturing techniques, perforations may also be placed in the webs 11 to facilitate such width ways separation as well.

Upon opening the kit having any number of main sleeves 3 with the appropriate adhesive 4 therein, we will assume, for example's sake, that the adhesive 4 is applied directly to the outer wall of the bottom surface 7 of the sleeve 3, the user removes the removable backing 6 from the adhesive 4 on the bottom surface 7 of the sleeve 3 and addresses the trash receptacle 35. Ensuring that the sleeve 3 is directed straight up and down, i.e., axially relative to the trash receptacle 35 so that the ventilation passageways 15 extend from a position relatively adjacent the rim 37 of the container or receptacle 35 to a point substantially adjacent the inner bottom 39 of the container or receptacle 35. The user than applies the sleeve 3 to the inner sidewall 41 of the container or receptacle 35 and firmly presses the adhesive 4 on the bottom surface 7 of the main sleeve 3 against the inner sidewall 41 of the container 35 so that the adhesive 4 securely holds the sleeve 3 thereto.

Examples of different applications of the kit with different trash receptacles are shown in FIGS. 4, 5A and 5B. It is to be appreciated that a sleeve may be made from easily obtainable corrugated plastic or polyethylene in an appropriate length and width and having the above described perforations formed therein. Further, the adhesive may be coated onto one side of the corrugated plastic by spray application, contact paper or other known method. In a preferred embodiment, contact paper is modified to adhere to one side of the sleeve by applying a second adhesive to the face of the contact paper, applying the adhesive covered face to the sleeve so that a user need only remove the contact paper backing to reveal the original contact paper adhesive for application to the inside of the container. In another modification, a string or release strip may be placed between the contact paper backing and the original contact paper adhesive to facilitate separation and release of the backing merely by pulling the string or release strip.

A trash can liner may now be inserted into the container 35 and filled with refuse, goods, trash, etc. When a user desires to withdraw the trash bag, the cinching of the open neck of the trash bag reveals the top openings of the passageways 15 and permits direct communication of these openings in the first end 17 of the sleeve 3 directly with the atmosphere so that air-flow can pass down through them and out the bottom to eliminate the suction of a full trash bag pressing against the sides and bottom of the trash container 35. Thus, air is allowed to freely pass between the outer surface of the plastic liner and the inner wall of the container 35 such that there is no suction developed between the bottom of the trash bag and the bottom of the container or receptacle 35 and the plastic liner is fairly easily removable therefrom.

Since certain changes may be made in the above described improvement, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.