Title:
Waste Compartment Securable to a Tissue Container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a compartment securable to an existing tissue container that enables a number of used tissues to be stored therein. The compartment includes a base attachable around an aperture formed in the tissue container and a container member secured to the base and extending inwardly into the tissue container. The container member includes a sleeve and a flexible liner that is treated or covered with an antimicrobial composition. When a cover for the compartment is opened, a used tissue can be inserted through the sleeve into the flexible liner to be held by the liner within the tissue container. As used tissues are positioned within the compartment, the liner operates to push the unused tissues within the container towards a dispensing opening for the tissue container.



Inventors:
Hickey, Charles P. (Cheyenne, WY, US)
Application Number:
11/683654
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A secondary compartment adapted for use with a tissue container to hold used tissues therein, the secondary compartment comprising: a) a base member adapted to be secured within an opening in the tissue container and including a container member extending inwardly into the tissue container; and b) a cover member connected to the base member and operable to selectively open and close the compartment for positioning utilize tissues therein.

2. The secondary compartment of claim 1 wherein the container member is formed as a flexible liner.

3. The secondary compartment of claim 2 wherein the container member includes a sleeve connected to the base member and wherein the flexible liner is connected to the sleeve opposite the base member.

4. The secondary compartment of claim 3 wherein the flexible liner is positionable within the sleeve.

5. The secondary compartment of claim 1 wherein the container member is formed with an antimicrobial coating.

6. The secondary compartment of claim 1 wherein the cover member is connected to the base member by a hinge.

7. The secondary compartment of claim 6 wherein the cover member is integrally connected to the base member.

8. The secondary compartment of claim 1 wherein the cover member includes a number of tabs engageable with the container member.

9. The secondary compartment of claim 8 wherein the container member includes a number of recesses engageable with the tabs on the cover member.

10. The secondary compartment of claim 1 wherein the base member includes antimicrobial material formed integrally therein.

11. A tissue container comprising: a) a first compartment including a top wall having a dispensing opening, a bottom wall, a number of side walls interconnecting the top wall and the bottom wall, and an aperture disposed in one of the top wall, bottom wall, or side walls; b) a second compartment having a base member secured within the aperture, a container member secured to the base member and disposed within the first compartment, and a closure secured to the base member and operable to selectively open and close the second compartment.

12. The container of claim 11 wherein the container member includes a sleeve connected to and extending inwardly into the first compartment from the base member.

13. The container of claim 12 wherein the container member includes a flexible liner secured to the sleeve opposite the base member.

14. The container of claim 11 wherein the closure is secured to the base member by a hinge.

15. The container of claim 14 wherein the closure is releasably secured to the base member opposite the hinge.

16. The container of claim 14 wherein the closure is integrally formed with the base member.

17. A method for storing used tissues within a tissue container, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing a tissue container having a first compartment including a top wall having a dispensing opening, a bottom wall, and a number of side walls interconnecting the top wall and the bottom wall; b) forming an aperture in one of the top wall, bottom wall, or side walls of the first compartment; c) securing a second compartment within the aperture, the second compartment including a base member secured within the aperture, a container member secured to the base member and disposed within the first compartment, and a closure secured to the base member and operable to selectively open and close the second compartment; and d) opening the second compartment to position a used tissue therein.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the container member includes a sleeve secured to the base member and a flexible liner secured to the sleeve opposite the base member, and further comprising the step of inserting the used tissue through the sleeve into the flexible liner after opening the second compartment.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to facial tissues, and more specifically to an improved container for holding and dispensing tissues of this type, and retaining used tissues dispensed from the container.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With regard to facial tissues and similar paper-based items dispensed in sheet form, the tissues are held within containers of varying shapes that allow the tissues to be dispensed individually from the container. The tissues are held in the container in any suitable manner, such as in an inter-folded configuration such that each tissue dispensed causes an adjacent tissue to be positioned partially outside of the container for subsequent dispensing from the container.

While tissues of this type are held within many different types and configurations of containers, oftentimes it is desirable to provide a container that not only allows for dispensing of the tissues from the container, but that also includes a compartment for holding used tissues. This is especially important in situations where an individual does not have a readily available trash or waste receptacle in which a used tissue can be placed.

However, while a number of tissue containers have been developed which include compartments for it and dispensing tissues from the container and for holding utilized tissues therein, the construction of containers of this type has not previously adequately addressed the problem of contamination of the unused tissues by the used tissues held within the container.

One example of a container that maintains the separation between used and unused tissues within the container is illustrated in Parks U.S. Pat. No. 5,129,545. The container illustrated in this patent includes a liner having an open and attached to the bottom of a container around a used tissue inlet. The container also includes an unused tissue outlet disposed opposite the used tissue inlet, such that the liner effectively divides the container into separate compartments for each of the used and unused tissues.

However, in this container construction, the inlet for the used tissues is formed by a pair of cuts made in the container that create a number of deflectable flaps in the bottom wall of the container. Due to the rigidity of the material used to form the container, the flaps do not deflect much, and do not allow for easy insertion of used tissues into the container. Additionally, in order to provide the container with the separate storage compartment for used tissues, the structure for the compartment is required to be part of the original construction for the container in order to allow the liner to be positioned within and secured to the container in the proper location.

Therefore, is desirable to develop a compartment that can be attached to an existing container for dispensing and holding unused tissues that provides the container with a compartment to receive and hold used tissues therein.

The compartment includes a barrier that separates the unused tissues from the used tissues held in the compartment to eliminate contamination of the unused tissues by the used tissues. The compartment can expand within the container to press the unused tissues upwardly towards the dispensing opening of the container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a first object of the present invention to provide a compartment attachable to an existing container holding a number of tissues therein that forms a separate compartment within the container to hold used tissues. The compartment is positioned within an opening formed in the container and includes a sleeve extending into the container and a flexible liner attached to the sleeve within the container. Unused tissues are dispensed from the container in a conventional manner and used by an individual can be inserted into the separate used tissue compartment and held therein within the container. The compartment includes a closure that is located on the exterior of the container and that can be selectively opened to enable the used tissues to be positioned therein.

According to another object of the present invention, to eliminate any potential for contamination of the remaining unused tissues held in the container, the separate compartment liner includes an antimicrobial composition applied thereto. In this manner, the used tissues position within the separate compartment within the container are separated from the unused tissues by the antimicrobial barrier material, eliminating the potential for determination of the unused tissues.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the liner used in the compartment construction is flexible such that the liner can initially be positioned within the sleeve of the compartment, which simplifies the attachment of the compartment to the container. The flexibility of the liner material enables the liner to expand when used tissues are positioned within the separate compartment of the container formed by the liner to accommodate a number of used tissues therein. In addition, the expansion the liner within the container urges the unused tissues on the opposite side of the liner towards the opening in the container from which the unused tissues are dispensed.

Numerous other advantages, aspects and features of the present invention will be made apparent from the following detailed description taken together with the drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings illustrate the best mode currently contemplated for constructing the present invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the tissue container including the closure and waste compartment constructed according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an top plan view of the closure used in the container of FIG. 1 in an open position;

FIG. 4 is a side plan view of the closure of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an top plan view of the closure used in the container of FIG. 1 in a closed position; and

FIG. 6 is a side plan view of the closure of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference now to the drawing figures in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the disclosure, a tissue container that can be used with the present invention is illustrated generally at 10 in FIG. 1. The container 10 has any suitable shape and construction for retaining a number of tissues 12 therein, but is preferably rectangular in shape with a top surface 14, a bottom surface 16, and a number of side surfaces 18 extending between the top surface 14 and bottom surface 16. Additionally, the container 10 can be formed from any suitable material, such as a paperboard or plastic material.

The container 10 also includes a first opening 20 located in the top surface 14 of the container 10. The first opening 20 is optionally covered by a dispensing closure 22 that is secured around the periphery of the opening 20 to the top surface 14 by any suitable means such as an adhesive, sonic or thermal welding or other mechanical fastening members (not shown). The dispensing closure 22 can take the form of any suitable closure member, such as a plastic sheet 21 having a slit 23 therethrough in alignment with the opening 20, or a cover (not shown) hinged to a base member (not shown) secured to the cover around the opening 20.

The tissues 12 positioned within the container are any conventionally formed tissue, such as those that are formed in a folded configuration such that each tissue 12 removed from the container and through the opening 20 operates to pull an adjacent tissue 12 partially through the opening 20 into a dispensing position.

Looking now at FIGS. 1-6, the bottom surface 16 of the container 10 includes a second opening 24 formed therein. Within the second opening 24 is located a compartment 26 including a closure 27 that provides access through the second opening 24 into the interior of the container 10. The closure 27, in a particularly preferred embodiment, includes a base 28 having a peripheral outer flange 30 positionable and securable on the exterior of the bottom surface 16 around the periphery of the second opening 24, such as by an adhesive, sonic or thermal welding or other mechanical fastening members (not shown). The base 28 also includes a sleeve 32 open at both ends that extends inwardly through the second opening 24 from the outer flange 30, and is preferably integrally formed with the outer flange 30. The function of the sleeve 32 is to provide a wide and well-defined passage into the container 12 through the sleeve 32 that enables easy insertion of a used tissue into the container 10.

Opposite the outer flange 30, the sleeve 32 is secured to an inner liner 34 that extends inwardly into the container 10 from the sleeve 32. The inner liner 34 is formed of a flexible, and preferably a plastic material, such that the inner liner 34 is expandable within the container 10 as used tissues are positioned within the inner member 34, which defines the majority if the interior 35 of the compartment 26. The liner 34 can be secured to the inner surface or the outer surface of the sleeve 32 using any suitable means, such as an adhesive sonic or thermal welding or other mechanical fastening members (not shown), among others. Due to the flexibility of the liner 34, the liner 34 can be initially positioned completely within the sleeve 32 during attachment of the compartment 26 to the container 10 to increase the ease of attaching the compartment 26. Alternatively, the liner 34 can be secured to the exterior of the sleeve 32 and disposed outside of the sleeve 32 when initially secured within the container 10. In either embodiment, as tissues 12 are inserted into the compartment 26, the inner liner 34 expands out of the sleeve 32 and into the container, such that the inner liner 34 presses upwardly against the unused tissues 12 remaining in the container 10. Consequently, the inner liner 34 urges the unused tissues 12 upwardly within the container 10 towards the opening 20 and the top surface 14 of the container 10.

The closure 27 also includes a cover 36 that is engaged with the outer flange 30. The cover 36 operates to selectively open and close the closure 27 and allow used tissues to be inserted through the sleeve 32 into the liner 34. The cover 36 is releasably engaged to the outer flange 30, preferably by a number of tabs 38 disposed around the periphery of the cover 36 that are engaged within aligned recesses 40 formed in the sleeve 32 adjacent the outer flange 30.

While the cover 36 can be formed of separately from the outer flange 30, in a preferred embodiment the cover 36 is connected to the outer flange 30 at one end by a hinge 42. The hinge 42 can be formed material different from that of the cover 36 and outer flange 30 and secured between the cover 36 and outer flange 30 at opposite ends, or can be formed as a living hinge by integrally forming the cover 36 with the outer flange 30. In this preferred embodiment, the cover 36 includes an insert 44 shaped similarly to the sleeve 32 that extends inwardly from the cover 36 and on which the tabs 38 are disposed. The insert 44 is positionable within the sleeve 32 to close off the sleeve 32 from the exterior of the container 10.

Adjacent to the insert 44, the cover 36 also includes a pair of peripheral tabs 46 that can be grasped by an individual to pull the cover 36 away from the base 28, thereby disengaging the tabs 38 on the cover 36 from the recesses 40 on the sleeve 32 in the base 28. The tabs 46 are spaced slightly from the base 28 by raised portions 48 of the outer flange 30 that are positioned in alignment with the tabs 46.

When the compartment 26 is inserted into the opening 24 formed in the bottom surface 16 of the container 10 and secured thereto, the closure 27, and particularly the sleeve 32 and the liner 34 form a secondary container within the outer container 10 within which used tissues can be placed and stored. In use, when an individual dispenses a tissue 12 from the top surface 14 of the container 10, after using the tissue 12, disengaging the cover member 36 from the base number 28 provides access to the sleeve 32 and liner 34 through the second opening 24. Once opened, the used tissue 12 can be inserted into the sleeve 32, and the cover member 36 can be reengaged with the base member 28 to retain the used tissue 12 therein. In addition, the greater the number of used tissues positioned within the compartment 26 including the liner 34, this greater number of tissues 12 expands the liner 34 to press against the unused tissues 12 remain within the container 10 to assist in dispensing the unused tissues 12 from the container through the opening 18 in the top surface 14 by moving the tissues 12 towards the opening 18.

In addition to the components of the compartment 26 each being formed of a fluid-impervious material, preferably the liner 34 is coated or otherwise formed with an antimicrobial material. The use of the antimicrobial material on the liner 34 operates to prevent the contaminants held on the used tissues 12 from passing through the material forming the closure 27 and affecting the cleanliness or sterility of the tissues 12 held in the original storage compartment of the container 10. This material can also be applied to the sleeve 32 and the closure 27, if desired.

Due to the configuration of the compartment 26, a single container 10 can include multiple compartments 26 to enable even greater numbers of used tissues 12 to be within the compartment 26 in the overall container 10. Further, the shape of the compartment 26 can be varied as necessary, and in particular to accommodate the specific configuration for the container 10.

While the preferred embodiments of the compartment 26 of the present invention have been described previously, other changes can also be made to those preferred embodiments. For example, he components of the closure 27 not including the liner 34 can be formed of a suitable material that preferably if generally rigid, such as a plastic material or a paperboard material, which is more easily disposable. Also, the inner sleeve 32 can include a removable barrier (not shown) located over the open end of the sleeve 32 opposite the cover 36. This barrier serves to retain the liner 34 within the sleeve 32 in a configuration that is easy to handle prior to and during attachment to the container 10. Also, by positioning the liner 34 within the sleeve 32, the liner 34 is protected from damage or contamination on the exterior surface of the liner 34 that contacts the unused tissues 12 within the container 10.

Various alternatives are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming a subject matter regarded as the invention.





 
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