Title:
Assemblable trash storage apparatus for holding trash/grocery bags
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-compartment trash storage apparatus assembled from individual components comprising two flat side pieces and a plurality of connecting panels. Each of the side pieces comprises a vertical bar and a plurality of panels projecting at an angle from the vertical bar and disposed one below the other. The panels include a plurality of slots along their bottom, front and back edges. The connecting panels are rectangular comprising top, bottom and a pair of side edges. The side edges are adapted to be snapped in the slots in order to connect the two side pieces and form a plurality of compartments. The assembled apparatus is self-standing and the compartments are located one below the other, inclined at an angle to facilitate easy access and adapted to receive conventional plastic or paper grocery bags.



Inventors:
Braun, Patrick G. (Buffalo, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/607654
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
11/30/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edwin Tarver (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multi-compartment grocery bag holder comprising a. two vertical side members; and b. a plurality of panel members that engage the side members, so that when connected, the panel members form a vertically coplanar series of open ended receptacles; wherein the side members comprise the sides of the receptacles, and the panel members comprise the top, bottom and rear of the receptacles.

2. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members engage the side members in a manner so that sloped receptacles are created.

3. The holder of claim 1, wherein the side members have a means for holding a plastic grocery bag disposed on opposite sides of the open ended receptacles.

4. The holder of claim 3, wherein the means for holding a plastic grocery bag comprises tabs disposed on the side members.

5. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members engage the side members using a tab and slot mechanism.

6. The holder of claim 1, wherein at least one stabilizing connector member connects the side members at the rear of the grocery bag holder.

7. The holder of claim 1, wherein each side of a receptacle except the open side comprises of at least one, or a plurality of panel members.

8. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members are held in place by the side members.

9. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members can be installed, removed and re-installed multiple times.

10. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members can be connected to and removed from the side members without the use of tools.

11. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holder can be assembled from the minimum number of panels necessary to create at least one receptacle.

12. The holder of claim 1, wherein the dimensions of the receptacles created by the panel members and side members form the compartments that receive paper and plastic grocery bags.

13. The holder of claim 1, wherein the panel members are interchangeable and can be installed in any position between the side members to form a receptacle.

14. The holder of claim 6, wherein the panel members are interchangeable with any stabilizing connector members

15. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holder comprises three receptacles when the panel members are connected.

16. The holder of claim 4, wherein a total of fourteen connecting panels are used to assemble the apparatus comprising three compartments.

17. The holder of claim 1, wherein the side members comprise to flat dimensions at a 90 degree angle to facilitate placing the holder on a floor and against a wall.

18. The holder of claim 1, wherein the receptacles are disposed at an angle so that the open end of each receptacle faces up and away from the holder.

19. The holder of claim 18, wherein the receptacles are inclined at an angle between 45 and 60 degrees from the horizontal.

20. The holder of claim 1, wherein the side members and panel members are made of any material from the list of materials comprising plastic, resin, wood or metal.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

None

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL

Portions of the disclosure of this patent document contain material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates in general to recyclable and refuse storage, more particularly to multi-container trash storage apparatuses, and more particularly to a trash storage apparatus that can be assembled to form a multi-compartment structure for holding a plurality of conventional plastic or paper bags that are used for storing recyclable waste.

Trash disposal is an everyday activity. Often, it must be sorted into categories of recyclable materials such as plastic, paper and aluminum prior to delivery to a recycling facility. Typically, each separate category of recyclable trash must be stored in a separate freestanding trashcan. This requires the use of several trashcans for storing different categories of recyclable material, which occupies a lot of space. Vertically stacked multi-container trash storage apparatuses conserve space and conveniently organize recyclables.

Several trash storage apparatuses have been developed in the art. For example, Intl. App. EP0979784 to Cavaliere discloses a refuse receptacle for selective sorting of household trash. The receptacle is a vertical structure comprising a plurality of compartments located one above the other. The compartments are open at the front. Each compartment is adapted to receive a tilting inner container lined with a plastic bag to receive the waste. The compartmental structure, along with the method of accessing the containers by tilting differs from the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,238,301 to Brady discloses a vertical unitized compartmentalized separation/holding container for sorting and discarding various materials for recycling purposes. The container comprises a plurality of sloped rhomboid compartments located one above the other. Each compartment receives a plastic bag, where sundry recyclable materials are stored. The compartments can be accessed through a plurality of pull down doors located at the front of the vertical container. The floor of the last compartment is substantially flat for storing newspapers and the like. The vertical compartmental structure and the pull down doors for accessing the compartments make this apparatus distinguishable from the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,587 to Brown discloses an apparatus for storing recyclable waste. The apparatus comprises a plurality of waste containers and a rack including a plurality of horizontally disposed support bars. The containers include hooks on their rear panels, which are used to suspend them onto the support bars. The containers are removable from the rack and are inclined at an angle when suspended on the support bars to provide easy access.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,984,704 to O'Malley discloses a trash container supporting apparatus that includes a frame and a plurality of trash container supports pivotally interconnected to the frame and adapted to receive and support a plurality of trash containers. The frame also includes wheels and a combination handle and stand for moving the apparatus. The frame may be tilted between a generally vertical position for conservation of space and a horizontal position while the trash containers remain in a generally vertical position to retain the trash. Although Brown and O'Malley include a plurality of inclined trash receiving containers one below the other, they cannot be easily and completely disassembled as in the case of the present invention.

Generally, trash storage apparatuses comprising multiple compartments or bins cannot be completely disassembled. For this reason, transporting them and storing them when not in use requires a lot of space. Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a multi unit trash storage apparatus that can be completely assembled or disassembled from individual components.

A further object is to provide a trash storage apparatus that can be easily assembled to form a stand alone and multi-compartment structure.

A further object is to provide a trash storage apparatus that helps in categorizing recyclable trash.

Finally, it is an object to provide a trash storage apparatus that includes a plurality compartments adapted to receive conventional plastic or paper grocery bags to store recyclable trash. These and other objects of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the appended Summary, Description, and Claims.

SUMMARY

The present invention is a trash storage apparatus that can be assembled from individual components comprising two identical vertical side pieces and a plurality identical connecting panels. Each side piece is flat, comprising a vertical bar, a plurality of panels projecting at an angle from the vertical bar and a base member at the bottom. The side panels are substantially rectangular and are defined by a front side edge, a back side edge, a top edge, and a bottom edge. The panels include a plurality of slots along their front side, back side and bottom edges.

The connecting panels are rectangular and are defined by a top edge, a bottom edge and a pair of side edges. The side edges are adapted to be snapped in the slots of the side pieces. The two side pieces are connected by snapping the side edges of the connecting panels in the corresponding slots of the side pieces to form multiple compartments. Each compartment is accessible from the top and is defined by two corresponding panels of the side pieces and a plurality of connecting panels.

When fully assembled, the apparatus is self-standing and the compartments are vertically stacked and are inclined at an angle for easy access. The compartments are adapted to receive conventional paper or plastic grocery bags. The multi-compartment structure of the present invention helps in categorizing recyclable trash.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of the trash storage apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the side piece in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the flat panel in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows all the side pieces and connecting panels required to form the three compartment apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the trash storage apparatus holding conventional grocery bags.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the trash storage apparatus.

FIGURES—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 . . . Trash Storage Apparatus
  • 11A . . . First Side Piece
  • 11B . . . Second Side Piece
  • 12 . . . Connecting Panel
  • 13 . . . Vertical Bar
  • 14A . . . Bottom Panel
  • 14B . . . Middle Panel
  • 14C . . . Top Panel
  • 15 . . . Short Horizontal Bar
  • 16 . . . Base Member
  • 17 . . . Front Side Edge of the Panel
  • 18 . . . Back Side Edge of the Panel
  • 19 . . . Top Edge of the Panel
  • 20 . . . Bottom Edge of the Panel
  • 21 . . . Triangular Hole
  • 22 . . . Elongated Hole
  • 23 . . . Slot
  • 24 . . . Top Edge of the Connecting Panel
  • 25 . . . Bottom Edge of the Connecting Panel
  • 26 . . . Left Side Edge of the Connecting Panel
  • 27 . . . Right Side Edge of the Connecting Panel
  • 28 . . . Tab
  • 29 . . . Compartment
  • 30 . . . Paper Grocery Bag
  • 31 . . . Plastic Grocery Bag
  • 32 . . . Projection

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings, a preferred embodiment of a trash storage apparatus that can be assembled from individual components is illustrated and generally indicated as 10 in FIGS. 1 through 7. The apparatus 10 when assembled comprises a plurality of open compartments adapted to receive conventional grocery bags for categorizing and storing recyclable trash. The apparatus comprising three compartments is used for descriptive purposes.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 3, the three compartment apparatus 10 is formed by assembling two flat vertical side pieces 11, first and second, and fourteen connecting panels 12. Each side piece 11 is comprised of a vertical bar 13, three side panels 14, a short horizontal bar 15 and a base member 16, as seen in FIG. 3. The side panel 14 is substantially rectangular comprising a front side edge 17, a back side edge 18, a top edge 19 and a bottom edge 20. The side panels 14 project at an angle from the vertical bar 13 and are stacked one above the other. Preferably, the side panels 14 are inclined at an angle of approximately 60 degrees from the horizontal. The horizontal bar 15 connects the top portions of the vertical bar 13 and the back side edge 18 of the topmost panel. The base member 16 is L-shaped and is in connection with the bottommost panel and the vertical bar. The connections between the three panels 14, the vertical bar 13, the horizontal bar 15 and the base member 16 leave triangular holes 21 in the side pieces.

Still referring to FIG. 3, the panels 14 further include two elongated holes 22 on their surfaces and a plurality of slots 23 along their front side 17, back side 18 and bottom edges 20. The top edge 19 of each panel 14 includes two projections 32. The middle and bottom panels have equal number of slots. Specifically, for the middle and bottom panels, four slots 23 are disposed along the front side edges 17, a pair of slots along the back side edge 18, and a pair of slots along the bottom edge 20. The pair of slots is defined by two slots 23 adjacently located on below the other. The four slots on the front side edges 17 are divided into two pairs of slots. The topmost panel is similar to other two panels except that it includes four slots disposed along its back side edge 18, which are also divided into two pairs. The top portions of the vertical bars also include a pair of slots 23.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, all the connecting panels 12 are identical, flat, and rectangular comprising a top edge 24, a bottom edge 25, a left side edge 26 and a right side edge 27. The left and right side edges include a pair of tabs 28 that are adapted to be securely received or snapped into any pair of slots 23 in the side pieces. The tabs 28 extend outwardly from the side edges 26 and 27.

In order to assemble, the first and second side pieces 11 are connected by the connecting panels 12. The pair of tabs 28 on the left side edges 26 of the connecting panels is inserted into a pair of slots 23 of the first side piece 11A and the pair of tabs 28 on the right side edges 27 is inserted into corresponding pair of slots 23 of the second side piece 11B. In detail, as an example, the pair of tabs 28 on the left side edges 26 of a connecting panel is inserted into the pair of slots 23 along the bottom edge 20 of the bottom panel of the first side piece 11A and the pair of tabs 28 on the right side edges 27 of the same connecting panel is inserted into the pair of slots 23 along the bottom edge 20 of the bottom panel of the second side piece 11B. One of the connecting panels is also connected between the pair of slots on top of the vertical bar 13. In this way, all the fourteen panels are inserted in the slots to form a fully assembled apparatus, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The apparatus 10 is self-standing and is supported on the base members 16.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the assembled apparatus 10 comprises three compartments 29 that are inclined at an angle of approximately 60 degrees, allowing easy access. The bottom and middle compartments are defined by the bottom and middle panels 14A and 14B of the two side pieces, respectively, and four connecting panels 12. The top compartment is defined by top panels 14C of the two side pieces and five connecting panels 12.

The compartments 29 are adapted to receive conventional paper 30 or plastic 31 grocery bags to store recyclable trash, as shown in FIG. 6. The projections 32 on the top edges 19 of the panels 14 are used to hold plastic grocery bags after they are received in the compartments 29. The apparatus facilitates in categorizing and storing recyclable trash in respective compartments.

Several patterns and designs of the triangular and elongated holes 21 and 22 in the apparatus are possible, without compromising the required inclination of the compartments for easy access. The apparatus 10 may also be adapted to multiple compartments other than three.

All features disclosed in this specification, including any accompanying claims, abstract, and drawings, may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

Any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means for” performing a specified function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not to be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6. In particular, the use of “step of” in the claims herein is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6.

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, various modifications and substitutions may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the present invention has been described by way of illustration and not limitation.