Title:
Ergonomic garbage container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garbage container includes two shoulder-receiving recesses formed in its bottom edge. The shoulder recesses are contoured indentations formed in the container and are concavely curved and dimensioned to comfortably receive the shoulder of a worker transporting the garbage container. Each shoulder recess includes a removable and replaceable cushion pad. An adapter having two shoulder-receiving recesses is: mountable to the bottom end of a conventional garbage container to provide the conventional garbage container with such ergonomic features.



Inventors:
Vaiana, Joseph G. (Babylon, NY, US)
Leparik, Frank (Greenlawn, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/220849
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
07/29/2008
Assignee:
EZ-Can, Corp. (Babylon, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/737, 220/772
International Classes:
B65D25/14; B65D25/22; B65D25/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gerald T. Bodner (MELVILLE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An ergonomic garbage container, which comprises: a side wall; a bottom wall, the side wall being joined to the bottom wall and defining therebetween a bottom edge, the side wall defining an open end situated opposite the bottom wall, the side wall and bottom wall defining an internal cavity for receiving material; and at least first and second shoulder-receiving recesses formed in at least one of the side wall, bottom wall and bottom edge of the container, each of the at least first and second shoulder-receiving recesses being defined as a contoured, concave indentation which is dimensioned to at least partially receive a shoulder of a user of the garbage container, the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses being disposed on the container opposite each other.

2. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 1, wherein the bottom wall of the container is formed with a recessed cavity, and wherein the container further comprises: a bottom handle, the bottom handle being situated within the recessed cavity formed in the bottom wall of the container.

3. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 2, wherein the bottom handle is rotatable with respect to the bottom wall of the container.

4. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 1, wherein the container further comprises at least first and second top handles, the first and second top handles being mounted on the side wall of the container in proximity to the open end thereof, the first and second top handles being disposed on the container opposite each other, the first shoulder-receiving recess being situated on the container in longitudinal alignment with the first top handle, the second shoulder-receiving recess being situated on the container in longitudinal alignment with the second top handle.

5. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 2, wherein the bottom handle has a longitudinal axis along which the handle extends, wherein the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses are positioned on the container diametrically opposite one another and reside along a diametrical axis, and wherein the longitudinal axis of the bottom handle is situated perpendicularly to the diametrical axis on which the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses reside.

6. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 5, wherein the bottom wall of the container further has formed therein at least first and second channels, each of the first and second channels being generally concavely shaped in transverse cross-section, the first channel extending from the first shoulder-receiving recess radially inwardly of the bottom wall of the container, the second channel extending from the second shoulder-receiving recess radially inwardly of the bottom wall of the container.

7. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 2, wherein the bottom wall of the container has formed therein at least first and second recessed side handles, each of the first and second recessed side handles being in the form of a cavity, the bottom wall of the container having portions thereof which extend upwardly into the internal cavity of the container and which define the cavities from which the first and second recessed side handles are formed.

8. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 7, wherein the first recessed side handle is positioned within the first shoulder-receiving recess, and wherein the second recessed side handle is positioned within the second shoulder-receiving recess.

9. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 1, which further comprises: at least first and second shoulder cushioning pads, the first shoulder cushioning pad being situated within the first shoulder-receiving recess, the second shoulder cushioning pad being situated within the second shoulder-receiving recess.

10. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 9, wherein the first and second shoulder cushioning pads are removably mounted and situated within the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses, respectively.

11. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container, the garbage container having a side wall and a bottom wall joined to the side wall, the adapter being mountable on the garbage container to be situated adjacent the bottom wall thereof, the adapter comprising: an outer peripheral support member, the outer peripheral support member having an outer surface, an inner surface disposed opposite the outer surface, an upper surface and a lower surface disposed opposite the upper surface; and at least first and second shoulder-receiving recesses formed in at least one of the outer surface and the lower surface of the outer peripheral support, each of the at least first and second shoulder-receiving recesses being defined as a contoured, concave indentation which is dimensioned to at least partially receive a shoulder of a user of the garbage container on which the adapter is mounted, the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses being disposed on the adapter opposite each other.

12. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 11, wherein the outer peripheral support of the adapter includes at least first and second bulbous portions which extend outwardly from the inner surface of the outer peripheral support, the first shoulder-receiving recess being at least partially formed in the first bulbous portion, and the second shoulder-receiving recess being at least partially formed in the second bulbous portion.

13. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 11, which further comprises: an inner peripheral support, the inner peripheral support being disposed within an inner area defined by the outer peripheral support, the inner peripheral support having an upper surface, a lower surface disposed opposite the upper surface, an outer surface and an inner surface disposed opposite the outer surface; and a plurality of brace members, the brace members extending between the inner surface of the outer peripheral support and the outer surface of the inner peripheral support and being mounted to the outer peripheral support and the inner peripheral support, each brace member including an upper surface.

14. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 13, wherein each of the upper surface of the outer peripheral support, the upper surface of the inner peripheral support and the upper surfaces of the brace members resides in the same plane and are engagable with the bottom wall of the container when the adapter is mounted therein.

15. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 13, wherein the adapter further comprises: at least first and second shoulder cushioning pads, the first shoulder cushioning pad being situated within the first shoulder-receiving recess, the second cushioning pad being situated within the second shoulder-receiving recess.

16. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 15, wherein the first and second shoulder cushioning pads are removably mounted and situated within the first and second shoulder-receiving recesses, respectively.

17. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 11, wherein the outer peripheral support includes at least first and second projections, the first and second projections extending outwardly from the upper surface of the outer peripheral support, the first and second projections overlapping at least a portion of the side wall of the container when the adapter is mounted thereto, each of the first and second projections having an outer surface.

18. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 17, which further comprises: at least first and second neck or face cushioning pads, the first neck or face cushioning pad being mounted on the outer surface of the first projection, the second neck or face cushioning pad being mounted on the outer surface of the second projection.

19. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 13, which further comprises: a bottom handle, the bottom handle being mounted on the inner peripheral support of the adapter.

20. An adapter for providing ergonomic features to a garbage container as defined by claim 19, wherein the bottom handle is rotatably mounted on the inner peripheral support.

21. An ergonomic garbage container as defined by claim 1, which further comprises: at least first and second neck or face cushioning pads, the first neck or face cushioning pad being mounted on the side wall of the container and positioned thereon in longitudinal alignment with the first shoulder-receiving recess, the second neck or face cushioning pad being mounted on the side wall of the container and positioned thereon in longitudinal alignment with the second shoulder-receiving recess.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based on U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/997,002, filed on Sep. 28, 2007, and entitled, “Ergonomic Garbage Can”, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference and on which priority is hereby claimed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention generally relates to garbage containers and more specifically relates to portable garbage containers.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In many domestic settings, garbage is collected in containers or bags and then transferred to larger containers outside a residence or business. Contracted or municipal garbage carters send trucks and workers to collect the garbage left in the containers outside homes. Conventionally, workers once again transfer the garbage into larger containers carried on the waste collection truck. The collection containers are commonly hoisted onto the shoulder of the worker and transported by foot to the awaiting vehicle.

Workers in the waste management industry very often suffer from chronic shoulder and back pain caused by carrying said containers between homes and the waste management vehicle. Additionally, injuries such as strains and sprains may occur as the worker is trying to balance the conventional container on his shoulder. Workers have tried to remedy this problem by carrying cutup shirts or rags on their shoulder, underneath the can, but have had limited success.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a garbage container that is ergonomically contoured and designed to provide a worker with a comfortable and secure means of transporting garbage to and from locations.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an adapter which is mountable to a conventional garbage container and which provides ergonomically contoured features not found on the conventional garbage container.

In accordance with one form of the present invention, a garbage container includes, preferably two shoulder-receiving recesses formed in its bottom edge. The shoulder recesses are contoured indentations formed in the container and are concavely curved and dimensioned to comfortably receive the shoulder of a worker transporting the garbage container. Each shoulder recess preferably includes cushioning, such as a removable and replaceable cushion insert or pad that conforms to the contoured surface of the recess.

In accordance with another form of the present invention, an adapter having such shoulder-receiving recesses described above may be mounted to a conventional garbage container which does not have such ergonomically contoured shoulder recesses.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a garbage container formed in accordance with the present invention being carried by a worker.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the garbage container formed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is enlarged cross-sectional view of the lower portion of the garbage container formed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged exploded view of the shoulder rest formed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the garbage container formed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating how the garbage container is handled when being emptied by a worker.

FIG. 6 is a bottom perspective view of a first form of an adapter formed in accordance with the present invention which is mountable to a conventional garbage container.

FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of a second form of an adapter formed in accordance with the present invention which is mountable to a conventional garbage container.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, partially exploded, perspective view of a portion of the adapter of the present invention shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Initially referencing FIG. 1 of the drawings, the present invention is generally a garbage container 2 having a preferably cylindrical shape with an open top end 4 and closed bottom end or wall 6. The cylindrical shape of the garbage container 2 is defined by a cylindrical side wall 3 having an outer surface 8 and inner surface 10, the inner surface 10 defining an internal cavity 12 for holding waste products.

The garbage container 2 preferably includes at its open top end 4 at least two handles 14 extending radially outwardly from its outer surface 8. The handles 14 are preferably positioned diametrically opposite each other near the top end 4 of the garbage container 2. The bottom end or wall 6 of the garbage container 2 may generally include a flat, planar bottom surface 16.

Now making reference to FIGS. 2-5, it will be seen that the bottom wall 6 may further include a recessed cavity 18 formed centrally in its bottom surface 16. The recessed cavity 18 includes a handle 20 that preferably does not extend beyond the plane of the bottom surface 16 of the garbage container 2. The handle 20 is formed within the recessed cavity 18 so that the garbage container may rest on the ground without any stability limitations.

The bottom end or wall 6 of the garbage container further includes a bottom edge 22, the bottom edge 22 being defined as the junction between the bottom wall 6 and cylindrical side wall 3. The bottom edge 22 may include a plurality, but preferably two, shoulder recesses 24. Each shoulder recess 24 is preferably in the form of a contoured indentation 26 formed in the bottom surface 16, bottom edge 22 and cylindrical side wall 3 of the garbage container 2. The shoulder recess 24 may be concavely curved and dimensioned to comfortably receive the shoulder of a worker transporting the garbage container 2. The shoulder recesses 24 are preferably positioned diametrically opposite each other and on an axis 26 that extends perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the bottom handle 20. Even more preferably, the recesses 24 are positioned in alignment with and below the top handles 14.

Even more preferably, the garbage container 2 of the present invention includes channels 25 concavely shaped in transverse cross-section which extend respectively between the shoulder recesses 24 and the bottom recessed cavity 18. The concave channels 25 define an open area for receiving the outer portion of the shoulder or upper arm of a worker who is holding the garbage container 2 and supporting its bottom surface 16 on his shoulder, as shown in FIG. 1, for even more comfort for the worker.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, each shoulder recess 24 may include cushioning, such as foam, to provide further comfort to the worker.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, each shoulder recess 24 may include a removable and replaceable cushion insert 28 that may conform to the contoured surface of the recess 24 and corresponding channel 25, if such is included, as illustrated in FIG. 4. The removable insert 28 allows the worker to clean the container 2 or insert, or replace the insert 28, as needed. The cushion insert 28 may be held in place within the recess 24 and channel 25 by adhesive, or by fastening means, such as snaps or Velcro® hook and loop fastening material (not shown).

A waste management worker may grab one of the handles 14 positioned at the top end 4 of the garbage container 2 and hoist the container 2 onto his shoulder. The shoulder recess 24 and channel 25 may receive the shoulder of the worker and provide a comfortable platform for the worker holding the garbage container 2 while also increasing its stability. The worker may also grab the recessed handle 20 within the bottom surface 16 for even more stability and control over the garbage container 2. The orientation of the recessed handle 20 with respect to the particular positions of the recesses 24 and channels 25 allows the worker to support the garbage container 2 on his shoulder, hold a top handle 14 with one hand and hold the bottom recessed handle 20 with the other hand without requiring the worker to twist his hands in an unnatural or awkward manner, as illustrated by FIG. 1 of the drawings.

In yet a further modification to the embodiments of the garbage container 2 described previously, one or more recessed side handles 27 each in the form of a cavity 29 may be provided. Each cavity 29 is defined by portions 31 of the bottom wall 6 which extend upwardly into the internal cavity 12 of the container 2. Even more preferably, the recessed side handles 27 formed by the cavities 29 may be positioned within corresponding shoulder recesses 24, as shown in FIG. 4, and, therefore, are in alignment with respective top handles 14. If the recessed side handles 27 are positioned within corresponding shoulder recesses 24, and if cushion inserts or pads 28 are provided, then cutouts 33 may be formed through the thickness of the inserts or pads 28 in alignment with the cavities 29. Furthermore, by positioning the side handles 27 within shoulder recesses 24, the distance between corresponding top handles 14 and side handles 29 is shortened to make it easy for a worker to handle the garbage container 2 of the present invention. Thus, a worker may handle the container 2 of the present invention by holding one of the recessed side handles 27 in one hand and a top handle 14 with his other hand.

All or some of the features of the garbage container 2 of the present invention, including the shoulder recesses 24, the cushion inserts 28, and the bottom handle 20, may be incorporated into an adapter 40, constructed in accordance with the present invention, mountable to the bottom end of a conventional garbage container 42 which has no such ergonomic features. Such an adapter 40, in various forms, is shown in FIGS. 6-8 of the drawings.

More specifically, and initially referring to FIG. 6, an adapter 40 preferably includes an outer peripheral ring 44 preferably in the form of a circular member, the ring 44 having a radially outer surface 48 and a radially inner surface 49 situated opposite the outer surface 48. The outer peripheral ring 44 includes an upper surface 50 and a lower surface 52 disposed opposite the upper surface 50. The adapter 40 is mountable to a conventional garbage container 42, with the upper surface 50 of the outer peripheral ring 44 resting against and supporting the bottom end or wall 54 of the conventional garbage container. The adaptor 40 may be affixed to the bottom end or wall 54 of the conventional garbage container 42 in a number of ways, such as using bolts 56, as shown in FIG. 8 and as will be described in greater detail.

The adapter 40 further preferably includes an inner peripheral ring 58, as shown in FIG. 6, disposed concentrically and radially within outer peripheral ring 44. The inner peripheral ring 58 is also preferably in the form of a circular member and is preferably recessed longitudinally upwardly from the lower surface 52 of the outer peripheral ring 44 so that a bottom handle 20 mounted thereon will preferably not extend below the lower surface 52 of the outer peripheral ring 44 of the adapter 40 to prevent or minimize any instability when the adapter 40, affixed to the bottom end of the conventional garbage container 42, is resting on the ground.

Shoulder recesses 24, having the contoured shape described previously, are formed in the outer surface 48 and lower surface 52 of the outer peripheral ring 44. To accommodate the required dimensions of the shoulder recesses 24 so that they are large enough to comfortably fit a worker's shoulder, the outer peripheral ring 44 includes diametrically opposite bulbous portions 68 which extend radially outwardly from the inner surface 49 of the outer peripheral ring 44 and in which the shoulder recesses 24 are formed. The shoulder recesses 24 of the adapter 40 may receive cushion inserts or pads 28, such as described previously.

Preferably, a pair (or more) of diametrically opposed brace members 60 extend between the inner surface 49 of the outer peripheral ring 44 to the outer surface 62 of the inner peripheral ring 58. The brace members 60 support the inner peripheral ring 58 within the interior area defined by the outer peripheral ring 44. Preferably, each brace member 60 has an upper surface 64, and the inner peripheral ring 58 has an upper surface 66, such that each of the upper surface 50 of the outer peripheral ring 44, the upper surfaces 64 of the brace members 60 and the upper surface 66 of the inner peripheral ring 58 resides in the same plane to rest against, and support, the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42 on which the adapter 40 is mounted. Thus, the inner peripheral ring 58 serves the purpose of supporting the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42 and providing a central location for mounting the bottom handle 20. The bottom handle 20, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, may be fixedly mounted on inner peripheral ring 58, with its longitudinal axis disposed perpendicularly to the diametrical axis in which the shoulder recesses 24 reside, or the bottom handle 20 may be rotatably mounted, and adjustably positionable by the worker, on the inner peripheral ring 58, as shown in FIG. 8 and which will be described in greater detail.

FIG. 7 of the drawings illustrates another form of the adapter 40 of the present invention. In this embodiment, the diameter of the outer peripheral ring 44 is greater than the diameter of the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42. Two or more upstanding projections 70, which are preferably semi-circular in shape, extend upwardly from the outer peripheral ring 44 and outwardly of the upper surface 50 thereof. If two projections 70 are provided on the adapter 40, they are preferably situated diametrically opposite each other. If more than two projections 70 are provided on the adapter 40, then adjacent projections 70 are preferably spaced at periodic, equal distances from each other. The radially inward facing surfaces 72 of the projections 70 are spaced from one another across the diameter of the outer peripheral ring 44 so that, preferably, the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42 is received closely within the space defined by the projections 70. The projections 70 add a further degree of securement to the conventional garbage container 42, and additional support thereto, by having the projections 70 overlap and extend over a portion of the outer surface of the side wall of the conventional garbage container 42. Furthermore, the projections 70 may include holes (not shown) formed through the thickness thereof which may receive bolts (not shown) passing through the side wall of the conventional garbage container 42 to further secure the adapter 44 to the conventional garbage container 42.

As can be further seen in FIG. 7, cushions or pads 74 may be affixed by adhesive, Velcro® hook and loop fasteners or the like (not shown) to the outer facing surfaces 76 of the projections 70, and preferably may be removable therefrom. The cushions 74 are provided to help cushion the neck and face of the worker who carries the conventional garbage container 42, with the adapter 40 of the present invention attached thereto, on his shoulder. As is shown in FIG. 7, the projections 70 are preferably situated on the adapter 40 to be in alignment with, and disposed above, the shoulder recesses 24 so that the cushions 74 affixed thereon are in a proper position to cushion the neck or face of the worker who is carrying the garbage container 42 on his shoulder. Of course, it should be realized that the ergonomically-designed garbage container 2 of the present invention shown in FIGS. 1-5 may include such head or neck cushions 74 affixed to the outer surface 8 of the side wall 3 and situated thereon in proximity to the bottom wall 6 of the container 2 (see FIG. 1).

As is further shown in FIG. 7, the inner peripheral ring 58 of the adapter 40 may include a plate 76 which has a greater diameter than, and extends beyond the periphery of, the inner peripheral ring 58. Preferably, the upper surface of the plate 76 resides in the same plane in which the upper surface 50 of the outer peripheral ring 44 and the upper surfaces 64 of the brace members 60 reside so that it engages and supports the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42 with the upper surfaces of the outer peripheral ring 44 and the brace members 60 when the adapter 40 is mounted on the conventional garbage container 42. The plate 76 is provided to support the bottom end 54 of the container 42 over more of the surface area of the bottom end.

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of the adapter 40 in which the bottom handle 20 is rotatable on the adapter by the worker to any desired position. The handle 20 is mounted to a circular plate 80 that is rotatably received by the inner peripheral ring 58 and within the radially interior area defined by the inner peripheral ring 58. The plate 80 may include a circumferential recess 82 formed in its side wall 84 in which is received a plurality of ball bearings 86. The ball bearings 86 engage the radially inner surface 88 of the inner peripheral ring 58 to allow the plate 80 and bottom handle 20 mounted thereon to be rotated effortlessly on adapter 40 by the worker. The plate 80 on which the handle 20 is mounted may itself be mounted to plate 76 by a bolt or threaded pin 90 extending perpendicularly from the lower surface 92 of plate 76 through a central bore 94 formed through the thickness of handle plate 80, and a cooperating nut 96 threaded onto the end of bolt 90. Alternatively, the upper surface 98 of rotatable handle plate 80 may have bolt or threaded pin 90 extending perpendicularly therefrom and extending through a bore 100 formed through the thickness of plate 76, and have cooperating nut 96 threaded onto the end of bolt 90.

As further can be seen from FIG. 8, and as mentioned previously, the adapter 40 may be mounted on the bottom end 54 of the conventional garbage container 42. The plate 76 of the inner peripheral ring 58 may include one or more openings 102 formed through the thickness thereof. Similarly dimensioned openings 104 aligned with plate openings 102 may be formed by drilling through the thickness of the bottom end 54 of container 42. Threaded bolts 56 may pass through the openings 102 of plate 76 of the adapter 40 and the openings 104 drilled through the bottom end 54 of the container 42, with cooperating nuts 106 threaded onto the ends of bolts 56, thus securing the adapter 40 to the conventional garbage container 42. The bolt or pin 90 extending from handle mounting plate 80 may also pass through a hole 108 formed through the thickness of the bottom end 54 of the container 42, with the nut 96 situated within container 42 on the end of bolt 90, to further secure the adapter 40 to conventional container 42.

The ergonomically designed garbage container 2 of the present invention, and the adapter 40 of the present invention, mounted on a conventional garbage container 42, provide contoured shoulder recesses 24 and other features to help a worker carry the containers 2, 42 on his shoulder in a more comfortable and secure manner.

Although a cylindrically-shaped, ergonomically designed garbage container 2 and adapter 40 are disclosed herein and shown in the drawings, it should be realized that the garbage container 2 and adapter 40 may be formed in different sizes and shapes, such as rectangular, elliptical or frusto-conical, and such different sizes and shapes are envisioned to be within the scope of the present invention.

Although illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawing, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various other changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.