Title:
REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expandable shopping bag system is provided with a pouch capable of unfolding to a shopping bag. The first pair of opposing sides and the bottom of the shopping bag have a first set of expansion panels, allowing the bag to expand and provide additional volume. A shopping bag kit is provided with an outer bag and a plurality of inner bags, wherein the inner bags are collapsible for storage within the outer bag when not in use. The inner bags form a coordinated design when the plurality of inner bags are placed adjacent to one another. An expandable shopping bag system is provided with a bag having a bottom with a fastener. A first and second pair of opposing sides extend from the bottom to form a storage compartment. The bottom folds about the sides creating a packet.



Inventors:
Adelman, Annette (West Bloomfield, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/573452
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/05/2009
Assignee:
SACS OF LIFE, LLC (West Bloomfield, MI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/681, 383/6, 383/38, 383/120
International Classes:
A45F4/02; A45F3/00; B65D30/20; B65D30/22; B65D33/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THEIS, MATTHEW T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An expandable shopping bag system comprising: a pouch capable of unfolding to a shopping bag, the shopping bag having a bottom and having first and second pairs of opposing sides extending therefrom to form a primary storage compartment; wherein the first pair of opposing sides and the bottom of the bag further comprise a first set of expansion panels, thereby allowing the bag to expand in a first direction and provide additional volume.

2. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 further comprising a second set of expansion panels located on the first pair of opposing sides and the bottom, thereby allowing the bag to expand in the first direction.

3. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 further comprising a second set of expansion panels located on the first and second pairs of opposing sides, thereby allowing the bag to expand in a second direction.

4. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the shopping bag is folded and secured within the pouch by an elastic strap extending circumferentially around the pouch.

5. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the pouch further comprises one of a strap, clip, and caribiner for attaching the pouch to another object.

6. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the shopping bag further comprises at least one external storage compartment.

7. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 6 wherein the external storage compartment is located on an external portion of the pouch after the shopping bag has been folded.

8. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 7 wherein the shopping bag further comprises an internal storage compartment located within the primary storage compartment.

9. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the shopping bag further comprises at least one internal divider, wherein the divider subdivides the primary storage compartment into a plurality of secondary storage compartments.

10. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 9 wherein the at least one internal divider is removable.

11. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 10 wherein the at least one internal divider is reconfigurable such that the dimensions of the secondary storage compartments are adjustable.

12. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the shopping bag further comprises a top flap securable to the sides to enclose the primary storage compartment.

13. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the bag is made of an insulating material.

14. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 wherein the pouch further comprises a strap for retaining the pouch around the waist of a user.

15. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 further comprising at least one strap for carrying extending from the shopping bag; wherein the first and second pair of sides of the shopping bag define a backpack structure and the primary storage compartment is enclosable by a fastener.

16. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 further comprising at least one strap for carrying extending from the shopping bag; wherein the first and second pair of sides of the shopping bag define a duffle bag structure and the primary storage compartment is enclosable by a fastener.

17. The expandable shopping bag system of claim 1 further comprising a secondary pouch storable within the pouch; and a diaper changing pad; wherein the diaper changing pad is foldable for storage within the secondary pouch.

18. A shopping bag kit comprising: an outer bag; a plurality of inner bags, each inner bag having a first and second pair of opposing sides extending from a bottom, at least one of the first and second pairs of opposing sides including a design thereon, wherein the inner bags are collapsible for storage within the outer bag when not in use; wherein the inner bags form a coordinated design when the plurality of inner bags are placed adjacent to one another.

19. The shopping kit of claim 18 wherein the coordinated design is thematic.

20. An expandable shopping bag system comprising: a bag having a bottom with a fastener arranged circumferentially thereto and a first and second pair of opposing sides extending from the bottom to form a storage compartment, the sides defining an opening to the storage compartment opposed to the bottom; wherein the bottom is foldable towards the opening and about the sides of the bag, thereby creating a packet for storing the bag, and the fastener encloses the bag within the packet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/103,120 filed Oct. 6, 2008.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to reusable shopping bag systems and kits.

2. Background Art

The widespread and temporary use of shopping bags is responsible for the consumption of valuable natural resources while causing considerable problems with disposal, decomposition, and recycling. Because most shopping bags are designed for short-term or single use only, the production and manufacture of paper and plastic bags is a significant and wasteful use of resources. The manufacture of paper bags generates significantly more air and water pollutants than the production of plastic bags, but it takes far less energy to recycle these paper products. Even so, the rate of recycling of either type of bag is extremely low and, consequently, most shopping bags end up in landfills where it can take them centuries to degrade. In addition, millions of trees are cut down every year to produce billions of paper bags for use in the United States alone. The use of reusable shopping bags effectively assists in the conservation of natural resources, wildlife preservation, and the reduction of pollution.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 2a and 2b are perspective views of an expandable shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention showing the bag prior to and after expansion, respectively;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a sectioned shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another sectioned shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of an expandible pouch according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed configuration;

FIGS. 5b and 5c are perspective views of the pouch of FIG. 5a in an open shopping bag configuration prior to and after expansion, respectively;

FIGS. 6a and 6b are perspective views of an insulated shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a hipster shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 8a and 8b are perspective views of a tote pouch according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively;

FIGS. 9a and 9b are perspective views of a backpack according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively;

FIGS. 10a and 10b are perspective views of a duffel bag according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively; and

FIGS. 11a and 11b are perspective views of a keychain shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively;

FIGS. 12a and 12b are perspective views of a shopping bag according to an aspect of the present invention in a closed and open configuration, respectively;

FIG. 13a is a perspective view of a shopping bag system according to an aspect of the present embodiment; and

FIGS. 13b and 13c are perspective views of a diaper pad bag system in a closed and open configuration, respectively, according to an aspect of the present embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale, and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

The present invention relates to a reusable shopping bag system which offers a convenient and individually expressive means for carrying and storing items, thereby assisting in the conservation and preservation of the ecology. The present invention includes collapsible or foldable bag systems that may incorporate an outer bag along with multiple inner bags of varying sizes suitable for carrying or storing items of purchase including, but not limited to, groceries, clothing, and personal items. The shopping bag systems, when stored, may be collapsible or foldable into a convenient and transportable form. The bags, which can be taken out and used as needed, offer shoppers a simple, convenient, and stylish means to preserve the world's natural resources.

With reference first to FIG. 1, a shopping bag according to the present invention is depicted and generally designated with reference numeral 10. According to one aspect of the present invention, shopping bag 10 may be sized to hold approximately 2 to 3 plastic grocery bags worth of items. Shopping bag 10 includes opposed side walls 12, 14, opposed end walls 16, 18 joined with the side walls 12, 14, and a bottom wall 20 joined with the side and end walls 12, 14, 16, 18 to define a storage compartment 22 therein. According to one aspect of the present invention, the dimensions of shopping bag 10 may be 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep, although it is understood that shopping bag 10 is not limited to these dimensions.

Shopping bag 10 may include one or more sets of handles 24, 26, attached to either opposed side walls 12, 14 or end walls 16, 18, or possibly formed within side or end walls 12, 14, 16, 18 themselves. According to one aspect of the present invention, two sets of handles 24, 26 may be provided in different lengths (for example, but not limited to, 8.5 inches and 24 inches) to offer a choice of lengths to make carrying groceries comfortable and easy. Of course, other handle configurations are also possible. Shopping bag 10 may contain fasteners such as, but not limited to, a zipper, draw-string, hook and loop (e.g., VELCRO®) material, or snaps, provided on side walls 12, 14 or end walls 16, 18, or a top close flap (not shown) which allow the shopping bag 10 to be closed.

Turning now to FIGS. 2a and 2b, an expandable shopping bag 110 according to the present invention is depicted, wherein elements corresponding to those of shopping bag 10 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “1” prefix. In addition to the features described above with respect to shopping bag 10, side walls 112, 114 or end walls 116, 118 (as depicted herein) may include expansion panels 130 which may be revealed via zippers 132 or other fasteners (e.g., buttons, snaps, etc.) to allow the shopping bag 110 to expand and provide additional volume to the storage compartment 122. According to one aspect of the present invention, the dimensions of shopping bag 110 may be 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep before expansion (FIG. 2a), and may be 22.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep after expansion (FIG. 2b), although it is understood that shopping bag 110 is not limited to these dimensions. When expanded, shopping bag 110 may be sized to hold approximately 3 to 5 plastic grocery bags worth of items. Of course, shopping bag 110 is not limited to expanding along the dimension depicted in FIG. 2b, but could alternatively expand to increase the height of shopping bag 110 or even expand multiple times.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate sectioned shopping bags 210 according to the present invention, wherein elements corresponding to those of shopping bags 10, 110 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “2” prefix. In addition to the features described above with respect to shopping bags 10, 110, shopping bag 210 includes interior dividers 240 for subdividing the storage compartment 222 into a plurality of sub-compartments 242. According to one aspect of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 3, shopping bag 210 may have dimensions of 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep, with dividers 240 that create three sub-compartments 242 measuring 4.5 inches wide by 7 inches deep. According to another aspect of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 4, shopping bag 210 may have dimensions of 9 inches wide, 9 inches tall, and 7 inches deep, with dividers 240 that create four sub-compartments 242 measuring 4.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep. Of course, a different number of sub-compartments 242 or different dimensions for shopping bag 210 or sub-compartments 242 could be used, where sub-compartments 242 may be equal or varying in size.

Dividers 240 may have dimensions so as to extend partially or fully along the height of side walls 12, 14 or end walls 16, 18. Dividers 240 be fixed in position or alternatively be removable. According to another aspect of the present invention, dividers 240 may be reconfigurable to accommodate items of different sizes, or adjustable so as to be capable of folding flush with the side walls 12, 14 or end walls 16, 18 if not needed. With dividers 240, shopping bag 210 offers containment for items and/or breakables that generally need to stand upright or be kept separate such as, but are not limited to, milk, juice, wine, eggs, and light bulbs. Such dividers 240 may also provide added strength or may allow the shopping bag 210 to be self-standing.

According to one aspect of the present invention, shopping bags 10, 110, and 210 may be constructed of polyester with a polyurethane coating. Of course, shopping bags 10, 110, 210 are not limited to construction from these materials, and other materials which may be reusable, flexible, foldable/collapsible, durable, washable, and/or waterproof, such as a synthetic polymeric textile or a textile which is a blend of natural and synthetic polymeric fibers, are also contemplated herein. These materials may further be treated with waterproofing chemicals to aid in the protection of the shopping bags 10, 110, 210 according to the present invention.

A plurality of bags such as, but not limited to, shopping bags 10, 110, and 210 described above, may be arranged to be contained within outer bags to create a shopping bag system. Several outer bags according to the present invention are detailed below, wherein the outer bags themselves may also be used to carry shopping items.

An expandable pouch 310 is illustrated in FIGS. 5a-5c, wherein elements similar to shopping bags 10, 110, 210 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “3” prefix. FIG. 5a depicts pouch 310 in a closed configuration, wherein the walls 312, 314, 316, 318, 320 which create storage compartment 322 are folded, compacted, and secured with a strap or fastener, such as an elastic band 350. In this closed configuration, pouch 310 may be worn around a shopper's wrist via use of a wristlet strap 352 with dimensions such as, but not limited to, 5 inches in length. Another option is attachment of the pouch 310 via a clip or caribiner 354 onto other items such as, but not limited to, a shopping cart, purse, diaper bag, stroller, or belt loop. It is understood that wristlet 352 and caribiner 354 can have any attachment location on pouch 310 and are not limited to the configuration depicted herein. According to one aspect of the present invention, in its closed configuration pouch 310 may be provided in a small size, for example, 11 inches by 6.5 inches, or in a large size, for example, 13.5 inches by 7 inches. Of course, pouch 310 is not limited to these dimensions. Advantageously, pouch 310 may be of a size suitable for storage in a purse, diaper bag, or other tote for storage until it is needed.

With reference to FIG. 5b, elastic band 350 may be removed to convert pouch 310 to an open configuration where it takes the form of a shopping bag. Side walls 312, 314 or end walls 316, 318 may include expansion panels 330 as described above with respect to shopping bag 110. According to one aspect of the present invention, the dimensions of the small size pouch 310 in this open configuration may be 11 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and 4 inches deep before expansion (FIG. 5b), and may be 11 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and 10 inches deep after expansion (FIG. 5c), and the dimensions of the large size pouch 310 may be 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep before expansion (FIG. 5b), and may be 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 13 inches deep after expansion (FIG. 5c). The small size pouch 310 may hold 2-3 plastic grocery bags worth of items in its open configuration (FIG. 5b), and 3-5 plastic grocery bags worth of items in its expanded configuration (FIG. 5c), with the large size pouch 310 capable of holding a correspondingly greater volume of items. Again, it is understood that pouch 310 is not limited to these dimensions, and that pouch 310 is not limited to expanding along the dimension depicted in FIG. 5c, but could alternatively expand to increase the height of walls 312, 314, 316, 318 or even expand multiple times. In its open shopping bag configuration, pouch 310 may be designed to be self-standing.

In addition, storage compartment 322 of pouch 310 may have one or more interior pouches or pockets (not shown) that may be sized to receive one or more of shopping bags 10, 110, 210. As such, shopping bags 10, 110, 210 may be stored within pouch 310 so they can be removed as necessary by a shopper and used to store and carry shopping items. Interior pockets or pouches may also be used to contain or accommodate items such as, but not limited to, a cell phone, coupons, a pad of paper, a pen or pencil, a grocery list, wallet, or others. Of course, pockets could also be provided on an exterior of pouch 310. Referring again to FIG. 5a, pouch 310 may include a front storage pocket 356, again for carrying bags 10, 110, 210 or any other items, such as those mentioned above. According to one aspect of the present invention, front storage pocket 356 may have dimensions of 8.5 inches by 4 inches with a 1 inch gusset for the small size pouch 310, and 11 inches by 5 inches with a 1.5 inch gusset for the large size pouch 310, where it is understood that these dimensions are merely exemplary. Access to front storage pocket 356 may be gained via a zipper 358 or any other fastener, and front storage compartment 356 may also include an auxiliary pocket 360 for even further storage.

Turning to FIGS. 6a and 6b, an expandable, insulated pouch 410 is illustrated, wherein elements similar to shopping bags 10, 110, 210 and pouch 310 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “4” prefix. FIG. 6a depicts pouch 410 in a closed configuration, wherein pouch 410 may have dimensions such as, but not limited to, 13.5 inches by 7 inches. In its open, shopping bag configuration (FIG. 6b), pouch 410 may have dimensions such as, but not limited to, 13.5 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and 7 inches deep. Pouch 410 also includes a top flap 462 which may be secured to walls 412, 414, 416, 418, such as via a zipper 464 or any other fastener, to enclose storage compartment 422. One or more of walls 412, 414, 416, 418, and 420 and top flap 462 may be constructed from an insulating material such that pouch 410 in its open configuration is capable of keeping items warm or cold.

FIG. 7 shows another outer, hipster bag 510 according to the present invention, which may be configured to hold a plurality of shopping bags 10, 110, 210 as described above. Again, elements similar to the preceding shopping bags 10, 110, 210 and pouches 310, 410 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “5” prefix. Hipster bag 510 may have dimensions of 9.5 inches in length, 7 inches in height, and 4.5 inches in depth, but of course is not limited thereto. A front storage pocket 556, as with pouches 310 and 410, can be used for storage of bags 10, 110, 210 and other items. Hipster bag 510 includes a strap 570 to allow for hands-free shopping, wherein strap 570 may be adjustable and/or detachable. Although not shown, strap 570 could also contain a clip for keys, a pocket for a cell phone, or other storage/organizing features.

An expandable tote pouch 610 according to the present invention is depicted in FIGS. 8a and 8b in its closed and open configurations, respectively, wherein elements similar to the shopping bags and pouches described above are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “6” prefix. Although not limited to these dimensions, pouch 610 may have dimensions of 13 inches by 7.5 inches in its closed configuration (FIG. 8a) and 13 inches wide by 16 inches tall by 7 inches deep in its open, shopping bag configuration (FIG. 8b).

FIGS. 9a and 9b illustrate an expandable backpack pouch 710 having dimensions, for example, but not limited to, 12 inches by 6.5 inches by 3.5 inches in its closed, pouch configuration (FIG. 9a) and dimensions of 12 inches by 22 inches by 9 inches in its open, backpack configuration (FIG. 9b). FIGS. 10a and 10b illustrate an expandable duffel bag pouch 810 having dimensions, for example, but not limited to, 8.5 inches by 6.5 inches in its closed, pouch configuration (FIG. 10a) and dimensions of 22 inches by 17 inches by 12 inches in its open, duffel bag configuration (FIG. 10b). FIGS. 11a and 11b illustrate an expandable keychain pouch 910 having dimensions, for example, but not limited to, 3 inches by 4.5 inches in its closed, pouch configuration (FIG. 11a) and dimensions of 13.5 inches by 16 inches by 7 inches in its open, shopping bag configuration (FIG. 11b). As above, elements of pouches 710 and 810 similar to the shopping bags and pouches described above are given like reference numerals with the addition of a “7” or “8” prefix, respectively. Of note are loops 872 provided on duffel bag 810 which may receive an additional strap if desired, and key ring 974 provided on keychain pouch 910 to allow pouch 910 to hang conveniently off of a shopper's keychain.

FIGS. 12a and 12b illustrate an expandable pouch 1010, wherein elements similar to shopping bags and pouches described above are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “10” prefix. FIG. 10a depicts pouch 1010 in a closed configuration, wherein the walls 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 which create storage compartment 1022 are folded, compacted, and secured within the folded bottom 1020 of the pouch 1010. A strap or fastener, such as a zipper 1076 may be located along the bottom 1020 of the bag in the open configuration, as in FIG. 10b. When the pouch 1010 is in the closed configuration the fastener 1076 may be used to retain and enclose the walls 1012, 1014, 1016, 1018 within the folded bottom 1020. The pouch 1010 in the closed configuration may resemble a pocketbook, packet, folder, or the like, and is capable of being stored in a backpack, attache case, or the like.

FIGS. 13a, 13b, and 13c illustrate a metro bag 1110 and auxiliary pouch 1178 for a diaper pad 1180 or the like, wherein elements similar to shopping bags and pouches described above are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “11” prefix. Referring to FIG. 13a, pouch 1110 may include a front storage pocket 1156. Access to front storage compartment 1156 may be gained via a zipper 1158 or any other fastener, and front storage compartment 1156 may also include an auxiliary pocket 1160 for even further storage. Pouch 1110 may also include a second auxiliary pocket 1182 for storage of auxiliary pouch 1178. Auxiliary pouch 1178 may allow for storage of a diaper pad 1180 or for carrying bags 10, 110, 210 or any other items, such as those mentioned above. The diaper pad 1180 folds into a closed configuration for storage into the auxiliary pouch 1178 as shown in FIG. 13b. The diaper pad 1180 may be unfolded for use as shown in FIG. 13c. The diaper pad 1180 may be connected to the auxiliary pouch 1178 by a drawstring 1184 or other attachment system. The drawstring 1184 may also act to enclose auxiliary pouch 1178.

In accordance with the present invention, the shopping bags and pouches described herein may be available in a multitude of colors and designs, wherein these designs may be thematic and/or coordinated. Such designs may include, but are not limited to, holiday designs, sports designs, pet designs, job-specific designs, personal family photographs, and coordinated fabrics and colors. The designs may be such that, when the shopping bags are arranged next to one another, a coordinated design or pattern is created.

It is understood that the shopping bags and pouches according to the present invention are not limited to the shapes or dimensions shown and described herein, and that any of the components and features described herein for any shopping bag/pouch according to the present invention may be interchangeably employed in any of the other shopping bags/pouches according to the present invention.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.