Title:
Combination dispenser and waste receptacle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination dispenser and waste receptacle is provided having a dispenser including a storage cavity with a waste receptacle coupled to the dispenser. A passage extends through the dispenser and is in communication with the passage so that waste may be inserted into the waste receptacle through the passage without removing the dispenser from the waste receptacle. The dispenser may be formed of an outer shell and a bottom wall removably attached to the outer shell. Tissue or similar material may be stored in the storage cavity, and used tissue and other waste material may be disposed into the waste receptacle through the passage.



Inventors:
May, Richard L. (Manhattan Beach, CA, US)
Dettman, Donald A. (Lomita, CA, US)
Dettman, David A. (Lomita, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/441695
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/26/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/14
View Patent Images:
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20050208369Liquid retaining pressure relief valve for battery cellsSeptember, 2005Puhlick et al.
20020125252Container with improved lid sealSeptember, 2002Massey et al.
20040011795Partially insulated dishware and cookwareJanuary, 2004Porchia et al.
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A combination dispenser and waste receptacle, comprising: a dispenser including a storage cavity, a passage extending through the dispenser, and a slot extending through a wall of the dispenser and into the storage cavity; and a waste receptacle coupled to the dispenser and in communication with the passage.

2. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 1 wherein the waste receptacle is removably attached to the dispenser.

3. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 2 wherein the dispenser is attached to the waste receptacle by a snap attachment.

4. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 1, further comprising a flip top cover.

5. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 1 wherein the dispenser includes a flip top cover, wherein the storage cavity is at least partially formed by the flip top cover.

6. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 1, further comprising graphic indicia placed on at least one of the dispenser and the waste receptacle.

7. A combination dispenser and waste receptacle comprising: a dispenser comprising a cylindrical storage container with a tubular passage extending along an axis of the cylindrical storage container such that the cylindrical storage container and the tubular passage together define a generally toroidal storage cavity, the cylindrical storage container further including a slot adapted to permit external access to and from the generally toroidal storage cavity; and a cup-shaped waste receptacle removably attached to the dispenser with the tubular passage and in communication with an inner space of the waste receptacle.

8. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 7 wherein the dispenser comprises a cylindrical outer wall and generally parallel top and bottom walls, wherein the tubular passage extends from the top wall to the bottom wall, and the bottom wall is removable from the cylindrical outer wall to permit access to the toroidal storage cavity.

9. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 8 wherein the tubular passage is integral to the top wall.

10. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 8 wherein the tubular passage is integral to the bottom wall.

11. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 8 wherein the tubular passage is defined by first and second segments with the first segment integral to the top wall and the second segment integral to the bottom wall.

12. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 8 wherein the bottom wall and cylindrical outer wall removably attach to one another, and wherein the bottom wall and cup-shaped waste receptacle removably attach to one another.

13. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 7 wherein the dispenser is transparent.

14. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 7 wherein the dispenser is formed of plastic.

15. The combination dispenser and waste receptacle of claim 7, further comprising graphic indicia placed on at least one of the dispenser and the waste receptacle.

16. A dispenser adapted to be removably attached to a cup-shaped waste receptacle, the dispenser comprising: one or more outer walls defining a storage cavity; a passage extending through the dispenser and in communication with the cup-shaped waste receptacle when the dispenser is attached to the cup-shaped waste receptacle; and a slot extending through at least one outer wall of the dispenser and into the storage cavity.

17. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the one or more outer walls define a cylindrical storage container, and wherein the passage is tubular and extends along an axis of the cylindrical storage container such that the cylindrical storage container and the tubular passage together define a generally toroidal storage cavity, and wherein the slot permits external access to and from the generally toroidal storage cavity.

18. The dispenser of claim 16, further comprising a waste receptacle removably attached to the dispenser.

19. The dispenser of claim 18, wherein the waste receptacle is removably attached to the dispenser by a snap attachment.

20. The dispenser of claim 18, further comprising graphic indicia placed on at least one of the dispenser and waste receptacle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a dispenser for dispensing tissue or similar items in combination with a receptacle for the storage of used tissue and waste material.

Disposable tissue is commonly used in a variety of places including the car. Tissues and other waste material are disposed of in waste baskets or other disposal areas, which need to be cleaned, emptied, or replaced.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment of the present invention, a combination dispenser and waste receptacle includes a dispenser with a storage cavity for holding tissue or similar items. A slot extending through a wall of the dispenser permits access into the storage cavity and a passage extends through the dispenser. The waste receptacle is coupled to the dispenser so that the passage communicates with the waste receptacle.

The waste receptacle may be removably attached to the dispenser such as by a snap attachment.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the combination dispenser and waste receptacle includes a flip top cover for covering the passage. The flip top cover may be coupled to the combination dispenser and waste receptacle with a compliant hinge. In still yet another embodiment, the storage cavity is at least partially formed by the flip top cover.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the combination dispenser and waste receptacle includes graphic indicia such as advertising indicia.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a combination dispenser and waste receptacle includes a dispenser and a cup-shaped receptacle. The dispenser includes a cylindrical storage container with a tubular passage extending along an axis of the cylindrical storage container such that the cylindrical storage container and the tubular passage together define a generally toroidal storage cavity. The cylindrical storage container further includes a slot adapted to permit external access to and from the generally toroidal storage cavity. The cup-shaped waste receptacle is removably attached to the dispenser with the tubular passage in communication with an inner space of the waste receptacle.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the dispenser includes a cylindrical outer wall and generally parallel top and bottom walls. The tubular passage extends from the top wall to the bottom wall, and the bottom wall is removable from the cylindrical outer wall to permit access to the toroidal storage cavity.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the bottom wall and cylindrical outer wall removably attach to one another, and the bottom wall and cup-shaped waste receptacle removably attach to one another.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the dispenser is of a transparent material such as transparent plastic. In still yet another embodiment, at least one of the waste receptacle and dispenser is elastically deformable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B are front and top views, respectively, of a combination dispenser and waste receptacle according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the combination dispenser and waste receptacle taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1B;

FIG. 3 is a detailed cross-sectional view of the tissue dispenser according to the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a combination dispenser and waste receptacle according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 5A and 5B are cross sectional and top views, respectively, of an alternative exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are cross sectional and top views, respectively, of another alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 7A and 7B are cross sectional and top views, respectively, of yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1A and 1B show a dispenser and waste receptacle assembly 10 for the storage of fresh tissues and the disposal of used tissues. The assembly 10 includes a dispenser 12 in which tissue 13 may be stored and a waste receptacle 14 removably attached to the dispenser 12, in which used tissue or other waste material may be disposed of. The dispenser 12 may be plastic, and may be partially transparent in order to allow visual inspection of the amount of tissue within the dispenser. Suitable materials of construction include thermoplastic materials as are commonly used for disposable cups.

The waste receptacle 14 may be a disposable cup, such as a paper or thermoplastic cup. Such cups are currently mass produced and commonly provided at fast food restaurants, service stations, convenience stores, and coffee houses, and may also be purchased in bulk at a variety of stores. A cup made of a thermoplastic material is especially useful as such material can hygienically contain soggy or moist waste material without leakage. One particular dispenser may fit multiple waste receptacles of different sizes. Similarly, different sizes of dispensers may be provided to fit different sizes of cups.

According to such an embodiment, because the dispenser can be used in combination with different waste receptacles, if a waste receptacle is removed from the dispenser and discarded along with the waste it contains, a new waste receptacle is readily available. A further benefit is that the present invention can provide additional utility to a cup that has been used only once and that otherwise would be discarded after the first use.

Still another benefit of such an embodiment is that the assembly 10 provides a convenient, transportable device. The assembly is particularly useful in automobiles as it is dimensioned to fit in an automobile cup holder providing quick and convenient access while traveling.

The dispenser 12 defines a storage cavity, explained in detail below, in which tissue or some other material can be stored. A slot 16 provides access to the tissue so that it may be accessed and removed from the dispenser for use. A passage 18 extends through the dispenser 12 and into the waste receptacle 14 permitting used tissue or other waste material to be discarded into the waste receptacle without requiring the removal of the dispenser from the waste receptacle.

With reference to the embodiment of FIG. 2, the assembly 10 is of a generally cylindrical shape. The dispenser is formed of an outer shell 20 and a bottom wall 22 which are configured to removably attach to one another. The outer shell 20 and the bottom wall 22 together form the storage cavity 24 which is generally toroidal in shape for storage of the tissue 13 (see FIG. 1B). The waste receptacle 14 is generally cup-shaped, having an inside space 26 in which waste material may be disposed of through the passage 18, which is in communication with the inside space 26 of the waste receptacle 14.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the outer shell 20 includes a generally cylindrical outer wall 28 extending about an axis of the assembly 10. A generally cylindrical passage wall 30 is generally concentric to the outer wall 28, also extending along the axis of the assembly 10, and a top wall 32 joins the outer wall 28 to the passage wall 30. Toward an inside lower edge, the outer wall 28 includes an annular shelf 34 facing downwardly and an annular sealing flange 36 extending radially inwardly around a portion of an inner surface of the outer wall 28. The shelf 34 and the flange 36 together define a groove 38. The bottom wall 22 is disk shaped and includes a circular passage opening corresponding to the passage wall 30 and which together with the passage wall forms passage 18.

With reference again to FIG. 2, the outer shell 20 and the bottom wall 22 may be removably attached to one another. In this embodiment, the bottom wall 22 enters the groove 38 and abuts the shelf 34 (see FIG. 3), and the passage wall 30 of the outer shell 20 aligns with the passage opening of the bottom wall 22 to define the passage 18. The combination of the outer shell 20 and the bottom wall 22 define the storage cavity 24, used for the storage of tissue.

With reference again to FIGS. 2 and 3, the waste receptacle 14 includes an outer lip 50 extending circumferentially at an upper edge of the waste receptacle, protruding radially away from the structure of the waste receptacle 14. The lip 50 mates with the groove 38 with the flange 36 extending circumferentially underneath the lip, removably attaching the waste receptacle 14 to the dispenser 12. When mated in the groove 38, the lip 50 bears upon the bottom wall 22, holding it in position against the inside outer shell 20, as described above.

As is well known for disposable cup and lid combinations, any combination of the outer shell 20, bottom wall 22, and the waste receptacle 14 may be provided for the releasable attachment of the component parts. For example, in this embodiment, during insertion into the groove 38 of the outer shell 20, the bottom wall 22 and the lip 50 may flex slightly in order to pass over the flange 36. The outer wall 28 may also flex slightly to accommodate passage of the bottom wall 22 and the lip 50. Such a coupling is often referred to as a snap attachment or snap-fit because the bottom wall 22 and the lip 50 snap into place within the groove 38 to removably attach to form the assembly 10. A snug fit may formed between the waste receptacle 14 and the dispenser 12 as the lip 50 and the bottom wall 22 substantially fill the groove 38.

With reference again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the tissue 13 is placed in the storage cavity. The tissue 13 may be replenished by removal of the receptacle 14 and bottom wall 22 from the outer shell 20. The tissue may be any one of a number of varieties. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, the tissue 13 is a standard pack of pocket tissues having a plurality of stacked folded sheets. The sheets of tissue may be folded and interleaved as is known in the art, with one panel of a top sheet of tissue extending from the slot 16, giving the user the ability to easily grasp and pull the tissue, removing it from the storage cavity for use. Upon removal of the sheet of tissue, a panel of a subsequent sheet of tissue is partially removed from the storage cavity 24 and extends through the slot 16, as known in the art. While not necessary, the stack of tissues is removed from any packaging to simplify dispensing. Referring to FIG. 1B, it should also be noted that when a stack of fresh tissues is placed in the storage cavity aligned with the slot for use, there is still room within the storage cavity for a spare stack of tissue immediately opposite the first stack.

In another embodiment, the tissue may be wrapped continuously as a roll that fits around the passage shell 30 within the toroidal shaped storage cavity 24, similar to a roll of toilet tissue. The roll of tissue may include perforations at predetermined intervals for ease of removal from the roll, as is known in the art. In yet another embodiment, rather than tissues, a series of individually wrapped, premoistened tissues may be disposed on a continuous roll within the storage cavity 24. Suitable premoistened tissues include those sold under the trademark WET-NAP®.

The tissue is removed from the toroidal shaped storage cavity 24 through the slot 16. The slot 16 may be of any number of different shapes, and may include one or more serrated portions (not shown) along one or more edges to aid in the cutting and removal of a sheet of tissue. For example, a user may remove a portion of tissue from a roll through the slot 16, and pull the tissue portion laterally across a serrated edge to cut the tissue in order to remove one or more sheets of tissue from the roll.

Other variations on the general structure of the dispenser are possible. For example, while the passage in the embodiment disclosed is integral to the outer shell 20, some or all of the passage may be integral to the bottom wall 22. With reference to FIG. 4, a dispenser 80 includes a passage wall 80 which may extend upwardly from the passage opening 84 of the bottom wall 86. The passage wall 82 may define one segment of the passage 88, while the passage wall 90 of the outer shell 92 may define another segment. For such an embodiment, the passage 88 is defined by the passage wall 82 formed in the bottom wall, extending upwardly into a passage opening in the top wall 94. Also, the bottom wall may be shaped to form a trough 96 in which tissue can be placed. The trough 96 may be used to properly position the tissue relative to the bottom wall 86 prior to coupling the bottom wall to the outer shell 92. As in the previous embodiment, the dispenser 112 attaches to a waste receptacle 14 with a snap attachment as described above.

With reference to FIGS. 5A and 5B, in an another alternative embodiment, a flip-top dispenser and waste receptacle assembly 100 is provided having a flip-top dispenser 102 and a waste receptacle 104. The dispenser 102 may be attached to the waste receptacle 104 as previously described. The dispenser 102 includes a storage cavity 106 placed along one side of the dispenser, extending partially into the waste receptacle 104. A passage 108 extends through dispenser along another side of the dispenser in communication with the waste receptacle. A flip-top cover 110 extends from the dispenser 102 at an outer rim 112 thereof. The flip-top cover 110 may be incorporated into the dispenser by means of a compliant hinge 114, as shown in FIG. 5A, or may be attached to the dispenser by a mechanical hinge. The flip-top cover 110 swivels about the hinge 114 to cover the passage 108 in a closed position, thus potentially concealing the waste material.

With reference to FIGS. 6A and 6B, in another alternative embodiment with a flip-top cover, a dispenser and waste receptacle assembly 200 is provided having a dispenser 202 and a waste receptacle 204. The dispenser 202 may be attached to the waste receptacle as previously described. The dispenser 202 includes a storage cavity 206 placed outside the waste receptacle, extending below and above the top of the waste receptacle 204. A passage 208 extends through the dispenser along the entire width of the waste receptacle 204. A flip-top cover 210 also extends from the dispenser 202, and swivels about a hinge into a closed position covering the passage 208, as described above. The flip-top cover 210 may include tabs 212 which may be lifted by a user for ease of opening and closing the flip-top cover.

With reference to FIGS. 7A and 7B, in yet another alternative embodiment with a flip-top cover, a dispenser and waste receptacle assembly 300 is provided having a dispenser 302 and a waste receptacle 304. The dispenser 302 may be attached to the waste receptacle as previously described, and includes a passage 306 extending through the dispenser substantially across the span of the waste receptacle 304. The dispenser may include a flip-top cover 308 having a storage cavity 310 incorporated therein. The flip-top cover 308 swivels about a hinge as previously described, and is capable of being placed in a closed position to cover the passage 306.

In any one of the embodiments described, the storage cavity may also include a cover such as a flip-top cover. Such a cover may be useful for storing premoistened tissues that are not individually packaged. The inclusion of a flip-top cover on the storage cavity allows the storage cavity to be closed to help prevent the premoistened tissues from drying out.

In any one of the embodiments, the combination dispenser and waste receptacle may be configured for the placement of advertising or other indicia in the form of a message, image, or logo, which can be placed on any surface of the assembly. Because the combination dispenser and waste receptacle can be mass produced with such advertising indicia at low cost, a company could provide them to customers or potential customers as a giveaway in order to promote the goods or services of the company. The indicia may be etched in, painted, adhered, or printed on an outer surface of the outer shell 20 of the dispenser 12 (see FIGS. 1 and 2), for example.

In still another embodiment, numerous assemblies of the dispenser may be configured to stack within each other for ease of transport and more efficient storage. For example, each of the outer wall 28 and the passage wall 30 of the outer shell 20 (see FIG. 2) may include a slight taper, allowing one outer shell to nest within another outer shell in a stacking fashion. The outer wall 28 may be tapered away from the waste receptacle, as shown in FIG. 2, while the passage wall may be tapered toward the waste receptacle. In addition, the passage wall 40 of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 may likewise include a taper away from the bottom wall 22 to allow stacking of a plurality of bottom walls 22.

Suitable materials of construction for the combination dispenser and waste receptacle include thermoplastics such as PET, ABS, or high impact styrene which may be injection molded or thermoformed into the desirable shapes.

While a snap attachment has been disclosed to form the attachment between the dispenser and waste receptacle, other options may be used. For example, the dispenser and waste receptacle may be attached to one another by a threaded connection or any other known connection.

While the invention has generally been described as being useful in that the combination dispenser and waste receptacle may be placed within a cup holder of an automobile, it should be recognized that other uses are possible, some with minor modification. For example, for automobiles without built-in cup holders, the device may include a “cup holder” feature that is either integral to the device, or detachable from the device. Such an accessory would allow the device to be attached to a car's dashboard, a car door, the back of a car seat, or to any one of a number of other convenient locations on the car. Such cup holder devices are well known. Similarly, the device may be used in many locations other than an automobile. It may be used at the home, in a restroom, and may even include either an integral or a detachable base that helps to keep the device upright when placed on a countertop. The device may also include a holder that can be fastened to a wall or hung on a doorknob. Such a holder can either be integral to the unit, or may be provided as an accessory such that the device or any one of a number of different cups may be placed in the holder. Such accessories and holders are well known for holding conventional cups, and further discussion is not necessary.

Furthermore, it will also be understood that the present invention is not limited to the shapes given to describe embodiments of the present invention. For example, the dispenser and the receptacle may generally be cube shaped or rectangular box shaped. The passage may be similarly shaped, or may be shaped differently than the dispenser.

While the invention has been described in its preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the words which have been used are words of description and not of limitation. Therefore, changes may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the true scope and spirit of the invention.