Title:
BOTTLE SHIPPING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed are systems and methods for an improved bottle packaging system and shipping container, and more particularly to a container wherein a plurality of inserts are employed to stabilize the bottle(s) and to provide impact resistant cushioning during shipment of liquids and the like. For a 4-bottle (quad) pack embodiment the improved insert design includes a folding bottle separator or insert to receive and secure a bottle bottom, along with a top insert to receive and restrain a bottle shoulder and neck region (bottle top). The inserts, in combination with a two-layer cardboard box may be used to provide a re-usable and recyclable shipping container or package for chemicals and the like.



Inventors:
Gilfert, James W. (Eldred, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/796263
Publication Date:
02/03/2011
Filing Date:
06/08/2010
Assignee:
Fibercel Packaging, LLC (Portville, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/458, 206/590
International Classes:
B65B5/02; B65D85/30; B65D77/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20150086943TWO-PART IMPLANT WITH A HYDROXYLATED SOFT TISSUE CONTACT SURFACEMarch, 2015Schwarz et al.
20120000800COMBINATION BOW CASEJanuary, 2012Simpkins et al.
20160016689LOW DEPTH CRATEJanuary, 2016Apps et al.
20120018333Reducing Side Effects of TramadolJanuary, 2012Bar-or et al.
20050103659Means of attaching rigid pages to a book-like coverMay, 2005Gelardi et al.
20050133514Transport and storage containers for liquidsJune, 2005Schutz
20100163436INSERT FOR BEVERAGE CONTAINERJuly, 2010Carter et al.
20160229589WATERPROOF DOCUMENT DISPLAY HOUSINGAugust, 2016Rich
20090242433Magnetic Tray and Piece HolderOctober, 2009Van Bergen et al.
20080121542Toolbox frameMay, 2008Chang
20100293892Method of Packaging and Package for SensorsNovember, 2010Curry et al.



Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BASCH & NICKERSON LLP (PENFIELD, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bottle packaging system, comprising: a carton having paper board panels defining a space, the panels meeting to define a plurality of interior corners; and at least one folding insert, said folding insert including a bottom surface receiving a bottom of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with respect to the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton, a plurality of ribbed sides receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with at least the sides of the carton, and a top insert for maintaining the position of the bottle neck and cap in relation to the carton.

2. The packaging system according to claim 1, wherein said carton is of a generally rectangular cross section.

3. The packaging system of claim 2, wherein said carton holds multiple bottles therein and where the plurality of ribbed sides support the bottles in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with one another.

4. The packaging system according to claim 1 wherein said folding and top inserts are made of a recyclable material selected from the group consisting of: cellulose, paper pulp, sugar cane, palm waste, and expanded starches.

5. The packaging system according to claim 1 wherein said inserts are made from re-cycled fibrous material consisting of recycled paper products.

6. The packaging system according to claim 1, wherein said folding inserts each define at least a portion of a cell for receiving a bottle, said cell comprising a plurality of ribbed walls providing a spacing between the adjacent carton walls and other bottles in the carton.

7. The packaging system according to claim 1, wherein said folding inserts include a base portion for contact with and support for the bottom of a bottle placed therein.

8. The packaging system according to claim 7, wherein said folding inserts further include a plurality of reinforced tabs on the face of at least two sections folded into alignment with one another, said tabs providing reinforcement to the base to protect the bottle.

9. The packaging system according to claim 7, wherein said folding inserts further include a plurality of reinforced portions on a rear surface of at least one of the sections, said reinforced portions aligning with similar structure on an adjacent insert in said carton to prevent contact between bottle sides.

10. A folding packaging insert to protect fragile cylindrical items in a carton, comprising: a bottom surface receiving a bottom of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton, and a plurality of ribbed sides receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the sides, other bottles (if present) and interior corners of the carton.

11. The A folding packaging insert according to claim 10, wherein said folding inserts each define at least a portion of a cell for receiving a bottle, said cell comprising a plurality of ribbed walls providing a spacing between the adjacent carton walls and other bottles in the carton.

12. A method for packaging a plurality of bottles, comprising: folding and positioning at least two folding inserts, having at least one bottle-receiving cell therein, within a carton; inserting the bottles into the carton such that the bottoms and sides thereof are in contact with the folding inserts and at least a portion of the bottle necks extend above the inserts; placing a top insert within the top of the carton, fitting over the necks of the bottles, to secure the bottles in the carton.

13. The method according to claim 12 wherein each of said folding inserts are of a common design.

14. The method according to claim 12, further including producing each of said inserts using a slurry molding process.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein said folding and top inserts are produced using a fibrous material deposited on a mold.

16. The method according to claim 12, wherein said folding and top inserts are produced using a fibrous material.

Description:

Priority is claimed from U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/230,656 for a “BOTTLE SHIPPING SYSTEM” filed Jul. 31, 2009 by James W. Gilfert, and cross-reference is made to co-pending Design Patent Applications 29/341,240 for a “BOTTLE SHIPPING TOP CAP INSERT,” filed Jul. 31, 2009 and 29/341,241 for a “BOTTLE SHIPPING FOLDING BOTTLE SEPARATOR,” filed Jul. 31, 2009 by James Gilfert, all of which are also hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

The disclosed packaging system is directed to an improved bottle shipping container, and more particularly to a container wherein a plurality of inserts are employed to stabilize the bottle(s) and to provide impact resistant cushioning during shipment of liquids and the like. For a 4-bottle (quad) pack embodiment the improved insert design includes a folding bottle separator to receive and secure the bottle bottoms and sides, along with a top insert to receive and restrain a bottle cap and neck region (bottle top) of each bottle. The inserts, in combination with a two-layer cardboard box may be used for shipping bottled chemicals and the like.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

Glass bottles and similar containers are used for shipment of liquid products that may, for one reason or another, not be storable or shippable in plastic containers (e.g., made from polystyrene, polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride). For example, chemical products that must retain a high level of purity are shipped in glass bottles because of the adverse reactions with plastic containers. However, glass bottles are fragile and prone to shattering on impact with surfaces or one another. Therefore, it is necessary to cushion glass bottles containing chemical products to prevent breakage during shipping and storage. This is necessary, not only to protect the product itself, but also because these products are frequently solvents or other chemicals that present an environmental hazard if leaked or spilled.

Disposing of packaging material is an additional burden on those who receive bottles and who are already burdened with disposing of not only chemical waste but also of the bottles and packaging materials themselves. Any arrangement that can reduce the disposal burden on an end user of chemical products shipped and stored in bottles is of substantial importance. Moreover, it is desirable that such packaging materials be recyclable and made from recycled, or at a minimum, biodegradable materials.

Currently, it is generally known to package bottles of chemicals in expanded foam polystyrene (EPS) packing material, which is placed around the bottles within a corrugated paper board container. A drawback of using EPS is that solvents in or on the bottles can dissolve the EPS, thus reducing or eliminating its cushioning purpose. Moreover, once the package is opened there are two discreet material groups which must be disposed of—the corrugated paper board as well as the expanded polystyrene. Polystyrene foam also has environmental impacts itself, both because the gases that it releases as it decomposes and because of its exaggerated physical presence resulting from its rigid expanded cell structure that consumes a great deal of volume in landfills. Restricting the use of foamed polystyrene packaging is a priority of many solid waste and environmental organizations as well as governments. For example, a number of US cities have banned polystyrene food packaging.

In view of these considerations, there is a continuing need for an economical replacement of polystyrene with a packing system that eliminates the dual waste streams, and that uses a biodegradable packing material for which there are established, environment-friendly waste management processes in place. One such solution is a packaging system and method described in pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/025,419 (US 2008/0302691 A1) for a “BOTTLE SHIPPING SYSTEM WITH MULTIPURPOSE INSERT,” by James Gilfert.

In light of the above-noted problems, the packaging system disclosed herein provides an improved package with one or more molded, foldable inserts using a common design, in conjunction with a top insert fitting over and retaining the tops of bottles (bottle necks and caps) in the package. More specifically, the system provides both impact protection and cushioning for the bottle(s), and also assures the ease of use and re-use of such a system by employing a common insert design for cushioning the bottoms and sides of the bottle(s) therein. Furthermore the inserts are preferably manufactured from molded paper or pulp materials that may include recycled content and are similarly recyclable or biodegradable.

Disclosed herein is a bottle packaging system, comprising: a carton having paper board panels defining a space, the panels meeting to define a plurality of interior corners; and at least one folding insert, said folding insert including a bottom surface receiving a bottom of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton, a plurality of ribbed sides receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the sides, other bottles (if present) and interior corners of the carton, and a top insert for maintaining the position of the bottle neck and cap in relation to the carton and other bottles (if present).

Further disclosed in embodiments herein is a folding packaging insert to protect bottles (or other fragile cylindrical items) in a shipping container or package, comprising: a bottom surface receiving a bottom of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton, and a plurality of ribbed sides receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the sides, other bottles (if present) and interior corners of the carton.

Also disclosed herein is a method for packaging a plurality of bottles, comprising: folding and positioning at least two folding inserts, having at least one bottle-receiving cell therein, within a carton; inserting the bottles into the carton such that the bottoms and sides thereof are in contact with the folding inserts and at least a portion of the bottle necks extend above the inserts; placing a top insert within the carton fitting over the necks of the bottles and securing a top surface of the carton.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective assembly view of a folding bottle separator having been folded and being placed into a shipping package;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an interior region of the shipping package of FIG. 1 having a plurality of folding bottle separators therein into which bottles are being inserted;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the top, front and right sides of a folding bottle separator;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 5 is a right side elevation view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 6 is a rear elevation view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 7 is a left side elevation view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the folding bottle separator;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a top cap insert for assembly with a bottle shipping package;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the top, front and right sides of a top cap insert shown in a typical use configuration;

FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 13 is a right side elevation view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 14 is a rear elevation view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 15 is a left side elevation view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 17 is a bottom plan view of the top cap insert;

FIG. 18 is a cutaway view of the package of FIG. 10 incorporating the top cap insert; and

FIGS. 19 and 20 are, respectively, illustrative representations of a formed screen employed to mold the folded insert and top cap insert.

The various embodiments described herein are not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments described. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As more particularly set forth below, the disclosed system and methods are for assembling an improved bottle shipping container, specifically a container wherein a folding insert(s) or separator(s) is employed, in conjunction with a top cap insert to stabilize the bottle(s) and to provide padding during shipment and handling. As used herein the term bottle is intended to cover both a conventional glass bottle having a base, sides, shoulder, neck and re-sealable top, as well as other types of containers used for the storage and shipment of liquids and the like. The various embodiments described herein disclose several configurations for the shipping containers, and it is further contemplated that the shipping systems may also be used to ship containers other than traditional bottles. Accordingly, the use of the term bottles is not intended to limit the disclosure or claims to conventional bottles or bottle designs. The improved insert designs and associated packaging system permits stabilization of the necked bottle(s) used for shipping chemicals and the like. Although generally described relative to a 4-bottle (quad) pack, it will be appreciated that the disclosed inserts may be employed in packaging for any number of bottles (e.g., a single, double, triple, quad and six-pack configuration). Moreover, various sizes and types of bottles may be packaged using the disclosed insert, or modifications thereof.

FIG. 1 is a perspective assembly view of a folding bottle separator having been folded and being placed into a shipping package, and FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an interior cutaway region of the shipping package or container of FIG. 2 having a plurality of folding bottle separators therein into which bottles are being inserted. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an insert component of a 4-pack packaging embodiment is illustrated from a top perspective view. The 4-pack folding inserts 100 are folded and placed within a carton 130 or similar enclosed space and each generally define two cells 110 into which bottles 200 are placed. Thus, two inserts 100 used concurrently provide a total of four cells in the embodiment depicted (e.g. FIG. 2). Each cell comprises a generally square region (other shapes are possible) defined by a ribbed wall 112 on at least two sides—wherein the folding inserts each define at least a portion of a cell for receiving a bottle. The ribs in walls 112 provide spacing between the adjacent carton walls and/or other bottles. The bottom of the cell, at the base of wall 112, includes a support surface 114 extending over at least one-half the bottom of the bottle to cushion and support the bottom of the bottle relative to the bottom of the shipping box or container 130.

The bottle packaging system, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, may include a carton 130 having paper board panels (e.g., top, bottom, sides) defining a space, the panels meeting to define a plurality of interior corners as with conventional shipping boxes. The system further includes at least one folding insert 100, said folding insert including a bottom surface 114 receiving a bottom of the bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton, and a plurality of ribbed sides 112 receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the sides, other bottles (if present) and interior corners of the carton.

Referring also to FIGS. 3-9, depicted therein are further details of the inserts 100. The folding inserts 100 of the packaging system may further include a plurality of reinforced tabs 144 on the face of at least the two folding sections to provide further reinforcement to the base to protect the bottle should the package be dropped. And, another feature of the folding inserts is a surface on the exterior (see corresponding interior recess 480 in FIGS. 3-4; reinforced portions 484 in FIG. 6) wherein the reinforced portions on a rear surface of at least one of the sections 414, aligns with a similar structure on an adjacent insert to prevent contact in the center of the package between bottle sides, should the package be dropped.

Referring to FIG. 10, the partial assembly view illustrates the packaging of a plurality of bottles in a double-walled cardboard box as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, but where a top cap insert 150 is employed to receive the tops/caps and necks of one or more bottles therein. Referring also to FIGS. 11-18, top cap insert 150 includes a plurality of recesses 154 into which the top of each bottle is received, along with corresponding, concentric shoulders 156, which serve to contact the top or cap of the bottle and to stabilize it during shipping and or in the event the carton or box is dropped. An additional concentric, downward-protruding, shoulder 160 is further included for each aperture, and is employed to make contact with the “trigger” or finger-loop 162 of each bottle, and to further limit the movement of the bottle once the top cap insert is applied and the carton is closed and sealed. Various other ridges 170, ribs 172 and similar structures are employed in the top cap insert in order to provide the insert with rigidity and permit reinforcement and to prevent collapse or complete failure of the insert in the event the carton is dropped during shipment. FIG. 18, for example, is cut-away bottom view with the top cap insert 150 installed on the top of the packaging system.

The packaging system described herein may further include the top cap insert 150 for maintaining the position of the bottle neck and cap in relation to the carton 130 and other bottles (if present). As an alternative, the present disclosure contemplates the separate use of either the folding inserts 100 or the top cap insert 150 as separate pieces employed with various alternatives to the depicted packaging systems.

Referring next to FIG. 3, depicted therein is an as-molded or unfolded insert 100, where the three sections 410, 412 and 414 are each depicted. In use, section 414 is folded along line 420, by about 180-degrees (arrow 422) so that the face of section 414 is abutting section 412 and they form a 4-sided compartment or cell as described above. Similarly, cell 410 is slightly folded (approx. 45-degrees; arrow 424) relative to cell 412 (along line 430), so as to fit within a carton or container as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, for example. It will be further appreciated that the size and arrangement of the ribs along sidewalls 112 of insert 100 may be modified or adjusted to accommodate different bottle sizes and carton configurations, as well as to provide for additional cushioning and support for the bottles. And, it is also possible to control the density or amount of material deposited on the molds (see below) to further control the firmness or energy absorbing characteristics of both of the inserts disclosed.

Referring also to FIGS. 4-9, these drawings illustrate the relative sizes and proportions of the various rib structured, tabs, recesses, etc. of the folded separator. As indicated in the figures it is contemplated that two such separators would be used to separate or divide a corrugated box or similar container into four cells or areas into which bottles may be inserted (see e.g., FIGS. 1 and 2). As noted above, in one embodiment, the folding separator may be employed with a top cap insert 150 in order to provide a complete packaging system for shipment of bottles. And, while depicted as a quad or 4-bottle embodiment, it will be appreciated that various of the design features of the inserts may be employed for other bottle/package configurations.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 10 and 18, the packaging system employs a carton 130 of a generally rectangular cross section having a top, bottom and sides, wherein the top and bottom may be formed of several flaps that are aligned or overlap for taping or sealing. Alternative shapes and sizes would be contemplated based upon the size of the bottles or other items being shipped. In order to assure the recyclability of the packaging, in one embodiment, the folded (100) and top (150) inserts are made of a recyclable material selected from the group consisting of: cellulose, paper pulp, sugar cane, palm waste, and expanded starches. The packaging system inserts may be made from re-cycled fibrous material consisting of recycled paper products.

As has been described herein, one aspect of the system is a folding packaging insert 100 to protect bottles (or other fragile cylindrical items) in a shipping container or package, where the folding insert 100 includes a bottom surface 114 receiving a bottom of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the bottom, sides and interior corners of the carton into which the insert is placed. The insert also includes a plurality (at least two in each cell) of ribbed sides for receiving and contacting the outer diameter of the sides of a bottle and supporting the bottle in a spaced-apart and padded relationship with the sides, other bottles (if present) and interior corners of the carton.

Depicted in FIGS. 12-17 are various alternative views of the top cap 150 insert as described above. Again, it will be appreciated that the dimensions, orientation and sizes of the insert and respective recesses/shoulders may be adjusted in accordance with the configuration and design of the bottles or other elements being retained by the insert. It will be further appreciated that the design of the insert is intended for production in a fiber molding operation and accordingly includes drafts and angled portions to permit easy molding and removal of the insert from a mold.

The following figures are provided for further illustration of the various aspects and features of the two inserts. In particular, FIG. 11 provides a perspective view of the top, front and right sides of a top cap insert 150 shown in a typical configuration; FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of the top cap insert; FIG. 13 is a right side elevation view of the top cap insert; FIG. 14 is a rear elevation view of the top cap insert; FIG. 15 is a left side elevation view of the top cap insert; FIG. 16 is a top plan view of the top cap insert. FIG. 17 is a bottom plan view of the top cap insert and it will be noted that the various features are illustrated in dashed lines as an indication of the variable nature of such features when the top cap is produced as a molded fiber insert where only one side is molded.

Similarly, FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the top, front and right sides of the folding bottle separator 100; FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the folding bottle separator; FIG. 5 is a right side elevation view of the folding bottle separator; FIG. 6 is a rear elevation view of the folding bottle separator; FIG. 7 is a left side elevation view of the folding bottle separator; FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the folding bottle separator; FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the folding bottle separator, again with the dashed lines representing portions on the side opposite the molding surface.

Having described the general aspects and features of the two inserts and associated packaging, attention is turned to FIGS. 19 and 20, which illustrate, respectively, representations of a formed screen mold employed in molding the folded insert and top cap insert. In one embodiment, a method for packaging a plurality of bottles, includes folding and positioning at least two folding inserts, having at least one bottle-receiving cell therein, within a carton; inserting the bottles into the carton such that the bottoms and sides thereof are in contact with the folding inserts and at least a portion of the bottle necks extend above the inserts; placing a top insert within the carton fitting over the necks of the bottles; and securing a top surface of the carton.

As will be appreciated from an examination of FIGS. 19 and 20, the inserts may be produced using a fibrous material in a slurry molding process. FIG. 19 depicts the mold 1910 for insert 100 whereas FIG. 20 illustrates a two-piece mold 2010 for insert 150. It will be appreciated that various mold configurations similar to those depicted may be employed, and that certain mold elements may need to be altered or customized in accordance with the method of manufacture and the materials employed. In one embodiment the inserts 100 and 150 may be made by FIBERCEL PACKAGING, LLC using the molds depicted, and a fiber material. The fiber material may be made from recycled cellulose or other fibrous or pulp materials mixed with water or other carrier and deposited on the surface of the mold (fiber is attracted to screen-like mold surface by selectively pumping water from the reverse side of the mold).

In one embodiment, the fiber may include at least 50% Kraft paper material and less than 50% newsprint, and more particularly, about 60% Kraft paper and about 40% newsprint. It is however, possible to use varying compositions, even compositions that are at or about 100% Kraft paper material, or at or about 100% newsprint, as well as compositions that utilize alternative types of pulp/fiber materials as noted herein. One source of such materials may be recycled paper products such as cardboard, newsprint, etc.

One process involves creating a vacuum formed plastic mold (e.g., 1910, 2010) representative of the insert shape depicted in the embodiments described above. This mold or “tooling” is mounted on a plate, which is subsequently mounted in pans of pulp molding machines. These machines include a tank that is continuously supplied with slurry of corrugated Kraft and newsprint pulp. The pans are attached to a rotating wheel and as the wheel revolves, the pans are submerged in the pulp tank. The molds are connected to a vacuum, which draws the pulp solids onto the mold surface and removes water. At the end of a rotation of the wheel, the individual pan reaches the unload station where an air blast blows the semi-solid pulp insert off of the mold and onto a negative fixture for support. The insert is then transferred directly to a belt for drying, possibly using a large, zoned drying oven (e.g. gas-fired), which removes most of the remaining moisture from the molded material. At the end of the oven, the inserts may be packed for shipment.

As briefly mentioned above various alternative materials may also be used, including various pulps, cellulose, sugar cane waste, palm waste, expanded starches, and foams (EPS). Preferably the materials employed in making the insert are recycled and/or recyclable. It is also contemplated that various handling tools and techniques may be employed to assist in the removal of the molded fiber inserts prior to and/or during a drying process (e.g. before stiffness and dryness of the insert achieves a desired level).

The packaging system employing the disclosed inserts not only provides for inexpensive packaging, it further provides a solution that is resistant to bottle breakage or damage. The disclosed packaging comprising inserts 100 and 150, bottles 200 and container 130, meet the requirements for packaging as tested in accordance with one or more standardized tests (e.g., ASTM D5276, ASTM D4577, ASTM D999 and ISO 535). Furthermore, use of the common design for the folding inserts in the disclosed packaging system, permits the efficient use, reuse and re-packaging of such materials—thereby reducing the cost of handling and shipping liquids in various bottle configurations. Molded pulp packaging, in accordance with one embodiment of the insert, protects the product and can safely cushion even the most delicate contents such as a bottle(s). A lightweight and cost-effective alternative to most conventional types of packaging, the product is made from 100% recycled materials and is 100% biodegradable.

Although described herein relative to a fiber-based insert, the disclosed system may indeed be suitable for use with alternative packaging materials, including biodegradable or other plastics, starch compounds, etc. Another possible manufacturing process may involve a vacuum-formed plastic having insert shape depicted in the embodiments. It will be appreciated that other techniques such as blow-molding and the like may also be used to manufacture the inserts. It should be further appreciated that various alternative materials may also be used, including various pulps, cellulose, sugar cane waste, palm waste, expanded starches, and foams (EPS). The materials employed in making the insert are preferably recycled, recyclable, or in the alternative biodegradable.

It will be appreciated that variations of the above-disclosed embodiments and other features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into many other different systems or applications. Also, various presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations or improvements therein may be subsequently made by those skilled in the art which are also intended to be encompassed by the following claims.