Title:
Reusable bag container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A reusable bag container is described, including a reusable bag, a sheath forming a substantially cylindrical shape, the sheath being used to store the reusable bag in an interior vestibule of the sheath, wherein a distal end of the sheath is configured to fit within a proximal opening of a holder, and an opening disposed at a proximal end of the sheath, the opening being configured to allow addition or removal of the reusable bag from the interior vestibule formed by the sheath.



Inventors:
Ashworth, James Scott (Woodside, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/789965
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/25/2007
Assignee:
Olive Smart, LLC (Woodside, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/42
International Classes:
B65D33/16
View Patent Images:
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20060110078Plastic bag for vacuum sealingMay, 2006Sholzberg et al.
20080159659LOCK STRENGTHENING AIR ENCLOSURE AND MANUFACTURE THEREOFJuly, 2008Liao et al.
20070206886Large capacity waste disposal bagSeptember, 2007Russick
20040066987Garbage bag systemApril, 2004O'neill



Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOKKA & BACKUS, PC (Palo Alto, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reusable bag system, comprising: one or more reusable bags; and a container configured to house the one or more reusable bags, wherein the container conforms to a substantially cylindrical shape when the one or more reusable bags are housed within the container, the substantially cylindrical shape being configured to slidably engage the container with a holder and, when a force is provided to extract at least one of the one or more reusable bags from the container, the container remains slidably engaged with the holder.

2. The reusable bag system of claim 1, further comprising an adjustable opening disposed at a proximal end of the container.

3. The reusable bag system of claim 1, wherein the material is nylon.

4. The reusable bag system of claim 1, wherein the material is silk.

5. The reusable bag system of claim 1, wherein the material comprises natural fibers.

6. The reusable bag system of claim 1, wherein the material comprises synthetic fibers.

7. A container, comprising: a collapsible sheath comprised of a memory material, the memory material being adapted to form a substantially cylindrical shape when one or more reusable bags are stuffed into an interior vestibule formed by the collapsible sheath; a base coupled to a distal end of the collapsible sheath, the base having a substantially circular shape and being configured to identify a radius of the collapsible sheath; and an adjustable opening provided at a proximal end of the collapsible sheath, the adjustable opening being configured to allow addition or removal of the one or more reusable bags from the interior vestibule formed by the collapsible sheath.

8. The container of claim 7, wherein the memory material comprises nylon.

9. The container of claim 7, wherein the memory material is a polymer.

10. The container of claim 7, wherein the memory material is synthetic.

11. The container of claim 7, wherein the memory material is natural.

12. The container of claim 7, wherein the memory material comprises natural and synthetic fibers.

13. The container of claim 7, wherein the collapsible sheath is configured to slidably engage a holder when the substantially cylindrical shape is formed by inserting the one or more reusable bags into the interior vestibule of the collapsible sheath.

14. The container of claim 13, wherein the holder is a cupholder.

15. The container of claim 13, wherein the holder is a car beverage holder.

16. A reusable bag container, comprising: a reusable bag; a sheath forming a substantially cylindrical shape, the sheath being used to store the reusable bag in an interior vestibule of the sheath, wherein a distal end of the sheath is configured to fit within a proximal opening of a holder; and an opening disposed at a proximal end of the sheath, the opening being configured to allow addition or removal of the reusable bag from the interior vestibule formed by the sheath.

17. The container of claim 16, wherein the sheath comprises a rigid structure.

18. The container of claim 16, wherein the sheath comprises a semi-rigid structure.

19. The container of claim 16, wherein the sheath comprises a flexible structure, the flexible structure being configured to collapse when the reusable bag is extracted from the interior vestibule.

20. The container of claim 16, wherein the sheath is configured to slidably engage a holder when the substantially cylindrical shape is inserted into the holder, the sheath being configured to exert a radial frictional force to engage an inner surface of the holder.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to bags and, more specifically, to a reusable bag container.

BACKGROUND

Sacks and bags (“bags”) are typically used to hold items for various purposes. Conventional bags are constructed or made of paper pulp, paper, recycled paper, plastic, and other materials. In various shapes and sizes, conventional bags are useful for holding, wrapping, and carrying items, such as groceries or items purchased from a store. However, conventional bags are also problematic, expensive, environmentally hazardous, and difficult to store and carry.

Some conventional bags are constructed or made from paper and paper pulp. In some cases, paper may be recycled from reused pulp and new paper bags may be produced. However, when soiled or wet, conventional paper bags may become structurally unsound and weaken, thus reducing or eliminating carrying ability and strength. Further, there are significant costs associated with recycling paper bags, including the purchase, installation, and use of recycling equipment and chemicals, personnel training, and chemical treatment or remediation of waste water, which are typically toxic activities. Even more problematic, conventional plastic bags are manufactured in large quantities, but end users such as food, grocery, package, department, specialty, and retail stores must allocate a portion of their operating budgets to purchase, brand, and store plastic bags. Further, after being used, plastic bags are typically not recyclable and are therefore discarded, thus contributing to large amounts of non-recycled garbage and trash that is non-biodegradable and, thus, an inherent threat to the environment. While conventional paper bags and some plastic bags may be recycled, when discarded altogether, substantial unnecessary waste accrual, leaching of toxic chemicals, asphyxiation, and other harmful effects can occur.

Some conventional solutions are reusable bags made of durable materials such as textiles and synthetic fibers. Environmentally sound and often made of biodegradable fibers or materials, reusable bags can be cleaned and re-used, but are often forgotten or stored in inconvenient locations. For example, reusable bags may be stored in other sacks or bags, placed in automobile trunks or other spaces, left in inconvenient locations, or otherwise placed where usage is hindered or precluded altogether. Further, conventional solutions for storing and holding reusable bags such as sacks or tote bags are often bulky and uncomfortable or inconvenient to carry, which further precludes wider adoption and usage of reusable bags.

Thus, a solution for storing reusable bags without the limitations of conventional techniques is required.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be readily understood by the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and like reference numerals designate like structural elements.

FIG. 1 is a front view of an exemplary reusable bag container;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a collapsed state;

FIG. 3 is another side view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a collapsed state;

FIG. 4 is an alternative view of an exemplary reusable bag container;

FIG. 5 is another alternative view of an exemplary reusable bag container;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of an exemplary reusable bag container;

FIG. 7A is a view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a holder;

FIG. 7B is a view of an alternative exemplary reusable bag container in a holder; and

FIG. 7C is another view of an alternative exemplary reusable bag container in a holder.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments or examples of the invention may be implemented in numerous ways, including as an apparatus, system, or process. A detailed description of one or more examples is provided below along with accompanying figures. The detailed description is provided in connection with such examples, but is not limited to any particular example. The scope is limited by the claims, but numerous alternatives, modifications, and equivalents are encompassed. Numerous specific details are set forth in the following description in order to provide a thorough understanding. These details are provided for the purpose of example and the descriptions provided may be used for implementation according to the claims without some or all of these specific details. For the purpose of clarity, technical material that is known in the technical fields related to the examples has not been described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description.

Various alternative implementations and modifications to the examples provided may be used and are not limited to the descriptions, dimensions, or other exemplary details provided herein.

A reusable bag container is described, including, in some examples, a reusable bag including a sheath configured to form a substantially cylindrical shape. In some examples, a reusable bag may be formed from flexible, rigid, or semi-rigid materials such as wood, plastic, metal, glass, textiles, synthetic polymers (e.g., nylon, Sorona®, Gore-Tex®, Supplex®, Kevlar®, and others), fabrics, fibers, alloys (e.g., titanium, molybdenum, and the like) composites (e.g., carbon fiber, and others), or others. Reusable bags and a reusable bag container may also be implemented using reusable and recycled materials, such as reclaimed plastic, wood, pulp, or other materials. The material used to implement reusable bag containers as described is not intended as a limitation and various types, sizes, compositions, and quantities of materials may be used. In other examples, a reusable bag may be stuffed, inserted, or otherwise placed into an interior vestibule of a rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible (i.e., collapsible) sheath, with an adjustable opening provided at a proximal end. An adjustable opening may be configured to allow addition or removal of one or more reusable bags. In other examples, a reusable bag container may be used to hold, store, or dispense reusable or other bags for use when carrying or storing items, such as groceries and other items, thus precluding the use of non-reusable bags or avoiding the use of environmentally-unsound or unsafe bags such as single-use plastic bags and the like. Further, reusable bags may be stored in a reusable bag container and hand-carried, stored in a holder (e.g., cup holder, beverage holder, car beverage holder, and others) and conveniently placed to allow a user when, for example, driving to a grocery store to conveniently and quickly retrieve one or more reusable bags or the whole reusable bag container. Further, a reusable bag container may be hand-carried to a point-of-sale (i.e., cashier, check-out line, and the like), for example, providing a convenient and compact way to retrieve reusable bags for immediate use. In other examples, a reusable bag container may be implemented differently and is not limited to the examples provided.

FIG. 1 is a front view of an exemplary reusable bag container. Here, reusable bag container (“container”) 102 includes opening 104, base 106, stitches 108-116, drawstring 118, lock 120, and trigger 122. In some examples, container 102 may be used to store reusable bags (not shown) that are placed (i.e., stuffed or stored) within an interior vestibule of container 102. An interior vestibule (not shown) of container 102 may be a space or other area within the interior of container 102. In other words, reusable bags may be placed or inserted into the interior to container 102 within an interior vestibule formed by the material or structure of container 102 and base 106, regardless of the type of material or fabric (e.g., textile, cloth, wood, metal, glass, alloy, composites, fibers, and the like). In some examples, material used to form container 102 may be formed as a collapsible sheath that expands as reusable bags are stored within. In other examples, container 102 may be formed from materials to create a rigid or semi-rigid shell for storing and dispensing reusable bags (not shown). In still other examples, container 102 may be implemented differently and is not limited to the descriptions provided. Here, a collapsible sheath may, as an example, be cylindrical or substantially cylindrical in shape and designed and fabricated to various dimensions. Reusable bags may have different dimensions and, when placed within an interior vestibule of container 102, may be extracted for different purposes at different times. Further, reusable bags may be cleaned and re-used, without being discarded after each use. When container 102 has one or more reusable bags stored within it (i.e., within an interior vestibule of container 102), container 102 may form a cylindrical or substantially cylindrical shape. Base 106 may be configured (i.e., cut, sewn, shaped, traced, patterned, or otherwise formed) to allow container 102 to form a substantially cylindrical shape that, in some examples, may be configured for insertion into a cup holder, beverage holder, or other type of holder that may slidably engage the exterior material of container 102. Thus, frictional forces may be used to grasp the exterior material of container 102 and, when a reusable bag is extracted or retrieved from opening 104, container 102 remains slidably engaged with the cup holder, beverage holder, or other type of holder. In other examples, the exterior material of container 102 may expand when reusable bags are inserted into an interior vestibule of container 102. Exterior material (e.g., parachute silk, nylon, ripstop nylon, or other composite or blended natural or synthetic fabrics and textiles) may expand and, thus, slidably engage a holder. In some examples, “slidably engage” may refer to container 102 gripping, contacting, or otherwise adhering to another surface. In other examples, “slidably engage” may refer to container 102 gripping, contacting, or otherwise adhering to another surface and, when a reusable or other type of bag is extracted or retrieved, container 102 remains engaged within another holder. In still other examples, “slidably engage” may vary and is not limited to the examples provided.

Here, container 102 may be constructed, fabricated, manufactured, stitched, or otherwise made from natural or synthetic textiles, yarn, or fibers (e.g., cotton, wool, nylon, ripstop nylon, silk, parachute silk, hemp, angora, cashmere, flax, jute, spandex, polyester, blends, microfibers, and others). Various types of natural, synthetic, or composite textiles, yarn, or fibers (“material”) may be used for container 102, base 106, stitches 108-116, and drawstring 120, which are not limited to the examples provided. Further, fibers and microfibers of varying dimensions (e.g., denier or less than one denier in thickness) may be used and are also not intended to limit any implementation. Likewise, lock 120 may be implemented using plastic, metal (e.g., aluminum, steel, alloys, iron, composites, and others), wood, or others to provide a spring-loaded locking mechanism that, when trigger 122 is depressed, a transverse channel is opened to allow drawstring 118 to freely traverse. In other words, by pressing lock 120 and trigger 122 together, drawstring 118 may be lengthened by pulling, which subsequently closes opening 104. Alternatively opening 104 may be widened by allowing drawstring 118 to pass through lock 120, allowing insertion (i.e., stuffing) or retrieval of reusable bags from container 102. Stitches 108-114 may be used to create a circumferential channel, housing, or pocket for drawstring 118, thus allowing opening 104 to be varied in diameter and shape when drawn through lock 120. Further, fewer, more, or different types of stitches may be used to create a circumferential channel, housing, or pocket for drawstring 118. Container 102 may be implemented using fewer, more, or different elements than those shown and is not limited to the examples provided.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a collapsed state. Here, side view 200 illustrates container 102 (i.e., in a “collapsed” or empty state), base 106, stitches 108-116, drawstring 118, lock 120, trigger 122, and side stitch 202. In some examples, container 102, with the exception of base 106, may be formed from a single or monolithic pattern or amount of fabric and coupled together using side stitch 202. When reusable or other types of bags are inserted or placed into an interior vestibule of container (i.e., through opening 104 (not shown)), container 102 expands to a cylindrical or substantially cylindrical shape with dimensions (e.g., circumference, radius, or diameter) determined by base 106. In other words, container 102 may expand to the radius or lateral radius of base 106. In other examples, container 102 may be composed of stretchable or expandable material such that the sides of container 102 may expand beyond the radius or diameter of base 106. In still other examples, container 102 may be composed of collapsible material that, when reusable or other types of bags are placed in an interior vestibule of container 102, expands to a height, width, and radius of a cylindrical or substantially cylindrical shape. Still further, container 102 may be implemented, designed, patterned, shaped, or otherwise formed differently, for example, using horizontal, diagonal, transverse, or other types of stitches apart from side stitch 202. Container 102 may be implemented using fewer, more, or different elements than those shown and is not limited to the examples provided.

FIG. 3 is another side view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a collapsed state. Here, side view 300 includes container 102 (i.e., in a “collapsed” or empty state), base 106, stitches 108-116, and drawstring 118. Side view 300 may be, for example, a view of the opposite side of side view 200. Stitches 108-110 may be used, for example, to provide reinforcement to opening 104 (FIGS. 1-2) and to allow the outer edges of material forming container 102 to be folded inward and used to create a pocket for drawstring 118. Here, a pocket may also be generated using one or more of stitches 108-114. Further, fewer, more, or different types and numbers of stitches may be used and are not limited to the examples shown. In other examples, container 102 may be implemented using fewer, more, or different elements than those shown and is not limited to the examples provided.

FIG. 4 is an alternative view of an exemplary reusable bag container. Here, container 102 is shown, including opening 104, base 106, stitch 116, drawstring 118, lock 120, trigger 122, and reusable bag 402. A cut way view of container 102 is shown, including revealing partially-inserted reusable bag 402. Here, reusable bag 402 is shown with dual handles protruding from opening 104. When withdrawn from container 102, reusable bag 402 may be used to carry or hold items. Further, reusable bag 402 may be one of several bags that are stuffed, placed, or otherwise stored within container 102. The number of reusable bags may be varied and is not limited to any specific quantity. Reusable bag 402 (i.e., when stored within container 102) may cause the external surface or exterior sides of container 102 to “bulge” or expand beyond the diameter of base 106, allowing for additional reusable bags similar to or different than reusable bag 402 to be inserted within container 102. Further, drawstring 118 may be operated to open (i.e., widen, expand, and the like) or close (i.e., narrow, contract, tighten, and the like) opening 104. In other examples, container 102, reusable bag 402 and the other above-described elements may be varied and are not limited in design, operation, dimensions, or function to the descriptions provided.

FIG. 5 is another alternative view of an exemplary reusable bag container. Here, container 102 is shown with opening 104, base 106, stitch 116, drawstring 118, lock 120, trigger 122, and lock channel 502. In some examples, reusable bags (e.g., reusable bag 402 (FIG. 4)) may be stored within container 102, which may be closed or substantially sealed using lock 120 and trigger 122. If expandable, collapsible material is used to form container 102, then reusable bags stored within (i.e., in an interior vestibule of) container 102 may cause the sides of container 102 to expand outwards beyond the radius of base 106. Thus, container 102 may be conformed or deformed to slidably engage, for example, some, all, or none of container 102 into a holder and grip the sides thereof. When lock 120 and trigger 122 are pressed together, drawstring 118 may traverse lock channel 502 to modify the diameter or size of opening 104, thus permitting reusable bag (402; FIG. 4) to be extracted or inserted within. Thus, container 102 may be used to store reusable bag 402. Likewise, container 102 may be placed in, for example, a car beverage holder (not shown) and, upon arriving at a store, for example, reusable bag 402 may be extracted and taken in to the store and used to carry goods or purchased items. Container 102 may also be hand-carried in its entirety and, as another example, placed in a beverage holder within a shopping cart and, upon arriving at a checkout stand, reusable bag 402, may be extracted and used to carry goods or purchased items out. Numerous other examples and implementation scenarios may involve using container 102, reusable bag 402, and the above-described elements and are not limited to those provided.

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of an exemplary reusable bag container. Here, container 102 includes stitch 116, drawstring 118, lock 120, trigger 122, and base 602. In some examples, base 602 may be substantially similar to base 106 (FIGS. 1-5). In other examples, base 602 may be implemented differently than base 106 (FIGS. 1-5) and is not limited to the descriptions provided. Here, a side/bottom view of container 102 is shown with one or more reusable or other types of bags stored in an interior vestibule to container 102. Base 602 is sewn or stitched to the exterior material of container 102 using stitches 116. When reusable bag 402 (FIG. 4) is inserted, stuffed, placed, or otherwise stored within container 102, the exterior material may expand to the radius or diameter of base 602. In some examples, if the exterior material of container 102 is flexible (e.g., silk, polyester, nylon, blends (i.e., materials composed of a blend of natural and/or synthetic fibers) and others), then container 102 may expand beyond the diameter of base 602 in order to accommodate a plurality of reusable bags (e.g., reusable bag 402 (FIG. 4)) and expand to slidably engage a holder when container 102 is slid or inserted into a holder (e.g., cup or beverage holder or other similar compartment). In other examples, container 102 and base 602 may be implemented differently and are not limited to the examples shown and described.

FIG. 7A is a view of an exemplary reusable bag container in a holder. Here, holder 702 is shown, including container 704, which is partially inserted into holder 702 and slidably engaged with inner surface 706. Opening 104, drawstring 118, lock 120, and trigger 122 are also shown. The size, shape, and dimensions of holder 702 may be varied and are not limited to the examples shown. In some examples, container 704 may be substantially similar to container 102 (FIGS. 1-6) and may be implemented using materials and fabrics such as those described above. As an example, container 704 may include one or more reusable bags (e.g., reusable bag 402 (FIG. 4)) and inserted (i.e., slidably engaged) with inner surface 706 of holder 702, which may be a car cup holder, shopping cart beverage holder, or other type of holder beyond the examples described herein. However, when used with reusable bags, discarded plastic and paper bags may be minimized or altogether avoided. Further, several reusable bags may be transported using container 704, which is configured to slidably engage the inner surface of holder 702 in, for example, an automobile. Thus, numerous carrying bags (i.e., reusable bags) may be stored and transported in a compact shape using container 704. Further, after usage, reusable bag 402 (not shown) may be cleaned and stored in container 704 for another, future use. The above-described examples may be varied and are not limited to the descriptions, parameters, uses, or functions provided.

FIG. 7B is a view of an alternative exemplary reusable bag container in a holder. Here, holder 702 has reusable bag container 710 placed within it. In some examples, reusable bag container has top 712 and opening 714, in which reusable bags may be inserted or extracted. Various materials may be used to form reusable bag container 710, which may be a rigid or semi-rigid structure that does not require collapsing or flexibility. Materials such as wood, plastic, metal, alloys, composites, and others may be used to form reusable bag container 710, which may be placed and stored in holder 702, which may be, for example, a car beverage holder or shopping cart cup holder. In other examples, different shapes, sizes, dimensions, and other parameters may be used to implement reusable bag container 710, which is not limited to the examples provided.

FIG. 7C is another view of an alternative exemplary reusable bag container in a holder. Here, holder 702 includes reusable bag container 712, which has opening 714. As an example of a different rigid or semi-rigid structure that may be configured to store reusable bags, reusable bag container 712 may be implemented using materials such as wood, plastic, metal, alloys, composites, and others. Reusable bags may be extracted or inserted from opening 714, which may be the open end (e.g., proximal, distal) of reusable bag container 712. Other types, shapes, and sizes may be used to implement reusable bag container 712, which is not limited to the examples provided.

Although the foregoing examples have been described in detail for purposes of clarity of understanding, certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the scope of the appended claims. Accordingly, the present examples are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and not limited to the details given herein and may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims. In the claims, elements and/or steps do not imply any particular order of operation, unless explicitly stated in the claims.