Title:
TRASH CONTAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A trash containing device having a sealing lid that is automatically opened for use and an apparatus and method of mounting thereof that facilitates easy convenient access thereto for use.



Inventors:
Johnson, Ronald H. (Acworth, GA, US)
Johnson, Robin S. (Acworth, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/210384
Publication Date:
03/19/2009
Filing Date:
09/15/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/264, 312/212
International Classes:
B65D25/20; A47G29/14; B65D43/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD H. JOHNSON (ACWORTH, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is at least:

1. A container operable with a cabinet comprising: an enclosure having at least three sides and a bottom; a lid hingedly operable with said enclosure, said lid biased in an open position exposing an interior of said enclosure; and mounting means for attaching said enclosure to one of a door and a drawer front of the cabinet; wherein said lid swings through an arc generally perpendicular to a major surface of said one of a door and a drawer front, and wherein said lid is retained in a closed position via engagement with biasing means when said one of a door and a drawer front is closed, and disengages said biasing means when said one of a door and a drawer front is open.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein at least one of said at least three sides and said bottom is selected from the group consisting of a solid panel, a perforated panel, a slotted panel, a panel comprising a mesh, and a panel comprising a screen.

3. The container of claim 1, wherein said mounting means comprises a flange operable with a side of said container and a fastener operable to secure said flange to said one of a door and a drawer front.

4. The container of claim 1, wherein said biasing means comprises a wheel adapted to contact said lid when said one of a door and a drawer front is closed.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein said lid comprises a groove defining a well, said well adapted to receive a biased wheel when said one of a door and a drawer front is closed.

6. The container of claim 1, further comprising a plate carried by the cabinet proximate an opening of said one of a door and a drawer front.

7. A trash can adapted for mounting within a cabinet comprising: attachment means for mounting said trash can to a door of the cabinet; a lid biased in an open position and hingedly connected to said trash can at a location of said trash can opposite the door of the cabinet; means for maintaining said lid in a closed position when said trash can is at least partially disposed within the cabinet, said lid disengaging from said means for maintaining said lid in a closed position when the door of the cabinet is opened; and means for biasing the door of the cabinet in a closed position.

8. The trash can of claim 7, wherein said means for maintaining said lid in a closed position when said trash can is at least partially disposed within the cabinet comprises a spring-biased wheel adapted to apply a downward force to said lid, and adapted to allow said lid to roll thereunder while the door of the cabinet is at least one of opened and closed.

9. The trash can of claim 8, wherein said means for biasing the door of the cabinet in a closed position comprises a groove formed in said lid, said groove comprising a well adapted to receive said spring-biased wheel when the door of the cabinet is in the closed position.

10. The trash can of claim 7, wherein said attachment means comprises a flange and at least one fastener adapted to secure said flange to the door of the cabinet.

11. The trash can of claim 7, further comprising a plate carried by the cabinet proximate an opening thereof, wherein said plate is adapted to contact said lid in an open position and to close said lid as the door of the cabinet is closed.

12. A cabinet-mounted system for receiving a trash can comprising: a flange for attaching a container to a door of the cabinet; a lid connected to said container via a hinge at a position opposite the door of the cabinet; a plate attached to an opening of the cabinet and adapted to contact said lid and to apply a closing force to said lid when the door of the cabinet is moved from an open position to a closed position; and a biased wheel removably engaging said lid and retaining said lid in a closed position when the door of the cabinet is disposed in a closed position, said biased wheel attached to the cabinet, wherein said biased wheel engages a depression in said lid to resist opening of the door of the cabinet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE AND PRIORITY CLAIM TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

To the fullest extent permitted by law, the present nonprovisional patent application claims priority to, and the full benefit of, U.S. provisional patent application entitled “Trash Container”, filed on Sep. 13, 2007, having assigned Ser. No. 60/993,560.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to containers, and more specifically, to a trash container with an automatic lid, and a mount therefore.

BACKGROUND

In our modern society, where packaged consumer products of all varieties abound, there is a constant need to dispose of waste and to store recyclable packaging materials. As a result containers, such as bags, bins, boxes, cans, and the like, of various designs have been employed to contain trash, recyclable material, and/or compostable material.

Especially where food items are present, such as in a kitchen, pantry, restaurant, store, or the like, such containers may advantageously include a lid capable of sealing, at least in part, trash, food, or the like, within the container, whereby dispersion of unpleasant odors may be avoided or reduced. Unfortunately, however, a lid poses an impediment to use of the container, especially when a user's hands are full, such as while carrying the material to be disposed in the container. As a result, various attempts have been made to overcome the problems associated with covered containers, while retaining the advantages thereof. Inevitably, however, such attempts included complex systems or arrangements, including numerous specialized components and linkages.

Furthermore, even when a lid is included, the trash can or other container may be itself be unsightly, may take up valuable floor space, or may clutter a space in which it is stored. As a result different housings and the like have been developed to conceal the trashcan and/or store it in a convenient location where it is not in the way during other tasks. Such concealment, however, likewise impedes use of the trash can or other container by requiring additional steps to access the trash can, or by disposing it in a location that is difficult to access.

Thus, it is readily apparent that there exists an unmet need for a trash can having a lid that automatically opens when needed and that seals the container when not in use, and a mounting apparatus and method that allow easy access to the trash can.

BRIEF SUMMARY

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the device and system of the present disclosure overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages and meet the recognized need for such a device and system by providing a container for attachment to a cabinet door, or other door or drawer, including a lid which seals the container, opens automatically upon opening the cabinet door, or other door or drawer, and closes automatically upon closing the cabinet door, or other door or drawer.

According to its major aspects, and broadly stated, the device of the present disclosure, in its preferred form, is a container comprising means for mounting to a door or drawer front of a cabinet, whereby the container may be supported by the door or drawer front, means for biasing an operable lid of the container in an open condition, and means for closing the lid as the door is closed, and for maintaining the lid in a closed position when the door is maintained in the closed position.

The container may be a trash can, with or without a bag or other liner therein, or a structure adapted to removably retain a trash can therein. The container may have a bottom, and one or more sides, and may have apertures formed therein, or other cut-out or opening, such as to reduce a weight thereof, without reducing its ability to contain trash, a trash can, a trash bag, or the like. The mounting means may be formed as one or more flange, or the like, adapted to engage an interior surface of the door or drawer front of a cabinet, such as directly via mechanical fasteners, adhesive, a groove, channel, or notch, or the like, or indirectly via a complimentary member having such a groove channel, notch, or the like that engages the door or drawer front. Alternatively, the mounting means may be formed as one or more hook, hanger, hanging means, clip, strap, combinations thereof, or the like.

A sealing lid may be included on the container via a hinge, preferably at a portion thereof opposing a portion including the mounting means, whereby the lid may open via a portion thereof proximate the door or drawer front swinging up and away therefrom via the hinge. The hinge is preferably biased, such as via a spring, whereby the lid opens automatically when the lid is no longer disposed within the cabinet.

The means for closing the lid may be carried by the cabinet, and is preferably removably engaged with the lid only when the door is closed, or partially open, whereby the lid is completely disengaged from the means for closing when the door is open, i.e. when the lid is no longer disposed within the cabinet. The means for closing may be formed as a durable and low-friction slide or roller element adapted to engage a portion of the lid as the door is closed and force the lid down, into a closed potion, sliding or rolling thereover, as the door is closed further.

Once closed, the means for closing preferably maintains the lid in a closed position, such as via a spring-biased wheel that engages the lid, and preferably a groove thereof. The groove may be formed such that the biasing force resists opening of the door.

Accordingly, one feature and advantage of the device and system of the present disclosure is the ability to accomplish automatic opening of the lid upon opening of the door, and to accomplish automatic closing of the lid upon closing of the door.

Another feature and advantage of the device and system of the present disclosure is the ability to accomplish such opening and closing of the lid via means which may disengage from the lid when the door is open.

These and other features and advantages of the device and system of the present disclosure will become more apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art after reading the following Detailed Description and Claims in light of the accompanying drawing Figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Accordingly, the claimed invention will be understood best through consideration of, and with reference to, the following drawing Figures, viewed in conjunction with the Detailed Description referring thereto, in which like reference numbers throughout the various Figures designate like structure and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a trash container according to the present disclosure; and

FIG. 2 is a side partial cut-away view of the trash container of FIG. 1.

It is to be noted that the drawings presented are intended solely for the purpose of illustration and that they are, therefore, neither desired nor intended to limit the claimed invention to any or all of the exact details of construction shown, except insofar as they may be deemed essential to the claimed invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In describing preferred embodiments of the device and system of the present disclosure illustrated in the Figures, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The claimed invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.

In that form of the preferred embodiment of the device and system of the present disclosure chosen for purposes of illustration in FIGS. 1 and 2, trash container 100 is preferably attached to door D of cabinet C such that trash container 100 may be accessed when door D is open, at least when door D is open a sufficient amount to allow lid 120 of trash container 100 to clear face frame F of cabinet C, and may be disposed inside cabinet C when door D is closed for convenient storage.

Trash container 100 may comprise one or more solid side panels 101, and bottom panel 103 as shown, and may be mounted directly to door D via mounting means 110, such as flange 111 and fasteners 113 disposed therethrough. As such, trash may be disposed directly in trash container 100, in a trash bag disposed therein, or in a conventional trash can disposed therein. Alternatively, trash container 100 may comprise one or more perforated or slotted panels, including mesh or screen sections, or the like, whereby a weight of trash container 100 may be reduced, thus reducing a stress on mounting means 110 and door D. When trash container 100 comprises one or more panel having one or more opening formed therethrough, a bag or other liner is preferably used to prevent trash or other items placed in trash container 100 from escaping through an opening. Alternatively, however, no liner may be used, such as for recyclable materials, especially where ventilation may be beneficial and the items disposed in trash container 100 are larger than the one or more opening.

As will be understood by those skilled in the art, mounting means 110 may take many other forms, including one or more hook, hanger, hanging means, clip, strap, adhesive, ties, combinations thereof, or the like. Likewise, flange 111 may be attached to door D other than via fasteners 113, such as via adhesive, engagement with one or more groove or slot, either formed in door D or in a structure attached thereto, or the like. Furthermore, mounting means 110 may be formed as a cage or other frame disposed, at least in part, around trash container 100. Fasteners 113 may be formed as one or more screw, nail, peg, rivet, hook, tack, or the like adapted to retain flange 111 in engagement with door D.

Lid 120 is preferably further included on trash container 100, disposed on an upper portion thereof via hinge 121, preferably in a sealing arrangement. Hinge 121 is preferably disposed on a portion of trash container 100 generally opposite door D and flange 111, whereby lid 120 may preferably open via swinging up and away from door D through arc A. Hinge 121 preferably includes biasing means 123, such as spring 125, a pneumatic device, a magnetic device, or the like, whereby lid 120 may preferably open automatically.

Means 130 for closing lid 120, and maintaining lid 120 in a closed position, as shown in FIG. 2, are preferably included to overcome a biasing force of biasing means 123, whereby lid 120 may be closed, and maintained in a closed position, such as during storage. Means 130 preferably includes plate 131 mounted to frame F of cabinet C and adapted to engage lid 120 and force lid 120 downward towards the closed position as door D is closed. Plate 131 is, accordingly, disposed at a position on frame F where engagement with lid 120 occurs as door D is closed. Such engagement preferably forces lid down through arc A as trash container 100 moves thereunder. As will be understood by those ordinarily skilled in the art, plate 131 may be formed of a resilient and/or durable material whereby continued use to close lid 120 may not cause excessive wear or damage to plate 131, and may further include a surface having a low coefficient of friction, including low coefficient coatings, whereby damage or wear to lid 120 may be avoided.

Means 130 may alternatively, or additionally, further include biased wheel 133, likewise mounted to cabinet C and adapted to engage lid 120, preferably at groove 127 formed therein, to maintain lid 120 in the closed position, whereby trash container 100 is sealed by lid 120. Groove 127 is preferably formed so as to provide a well in which biased wheel 133 is disposed when door D is completely closed, whereby a biasing force of biased wheel 133 may resist, at least to some degree, the opening of door D. Thus, any force tending to open door D, such as a force applied by biasing means 123, may be resisted by a downward biasing force of biased wheel 133 via engagement with groove 127.

Biased wheel 133 is preferably arranged so as to rotate freely, such as about a pin or other axle, with or without bearings, whereby lid 120 may freely travel thereunder, at least in a direction of rotation, while engaged with biased wheel 133. Biased wheel 133 is preferably further arranged to travel a distance in a direction generally perpendicular to a top of lid 120, including via traveling vertically in a channel or via rotation about a pin or other pivot point, and is preferably biased in the direction of travel towards lid 120 disposed thereunder, whereby biased wheel may follow a contour of the top of lid 120 as lid 120 moves with respect to cabinet C, and biased wheel 133. For example, lid 120 may include a sloped portion towards a peripheral edge thereof distal of door D, whereby biased wheel may move vertically under the biasing force to maintain contact with the sloping surface as door D is opened. Thus, when door D is opened slightly, i.e. a sufficient distance to remove biased wheel 133 from the well, the biasing force of biased wheel 133 may cause door D to open automatically via transmission of the biasing force through the sloped surface of top 120.

In use, container 100, including lid 120, may be mounted, either permanently or removably, to an interior surface of door D proximate an upper peripheral edge thereof, and preferably proximate a side thereof opposite a hinged side, whereby when door D is closed, container 100 may be disposed within cabinet C proximate face frame F thereof, and whereby when door D is open, container 100 is completely removed from cabinet C. Plate 131 and biased wheel 133 may be installed, either permanently or removably, on cabinet C so as to each contact lid 120 when door D is closing or closed. Thus, when door D is opened, lid 120 may disengage from means 130 as it is removed from cabinet C via movement of door D, and may automatically open under the biasing force of biasing means 123 when completely removed from cabinet C. Trash, recyclable material, or the like, may then be placed in open container 100, as desired. Door D may then be closed, thereby engaging lid 120 with means 130, causing lid 120 to close and remain closed while simultaneously disposing container 100 within cabinet C where it may be hidden from sight and may free up space for other uses. The disengagement of lid 120 from means 130 preferably allows container 100 to be removed from door D, when means 120 are formed as removable mounting means, such as slot or channel slidably receiving flange 111, whereby container 100 may be carried or otherwise transported to a desired location, such as for trash or recycling collection, or the like.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the device and system of the present disclosure, it should be noted by those ordinarily skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. For example, the trash container may be used with a drawer, shelf, or the like, and may be formed of wire mesh or other perforated or woven material for ventilation. These and various other alternative arrangements, shapes, sizes, and the like, will be apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art, and are deemed to be within the scope of the present disclosure. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments as illustrated herein, but is only limited by the following claims.