Title:
COLLAPSIBLE BOTTLE AND RELATED SYSTEMS, COMPONENTS AND METHODS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible plastic bottle is provided which is movable from an expanded configuration for storing liquid for consumer use to a collapsed configuration for forming a tile for use in tiled building structures and the like. Related systems, components and methods are also provided.



Inventors:
Thomson, Donald W. (Heredia, CR)
Loveland, Lee (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
14/444832
Publication Date:
02/05/2015
Filing Date:
07/28/2014
Assignee:
1781221 ALBERTA LTD.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/401.1, 52/551, 52/588.1
International Classes:
B65D1/02; E04D1/08; E04D1/24; E04D1/30; E04D1/34; E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080142465Collapsible InsertJune, 2008Spector
20070007228Readily identifiable clear plastic water and other beverage bottlesJanuary, 2007Weed
20070068892Grippable lidMarch, 2007Kaufman
20020050480Hermetically closed disposable containerMay, 2002Rolle
20090057321COLLAPSIBLE BOTTLES AND METHODS OF USING SAMEMarch, 2009Hong et al.
20070034595Bottle and cap closure apparatus with torque featureFebruary, 2007Foster et al.
20060131257Plastic container with champagne style baseJune, 2006Gatewood et al.
20080314857Bottle Closure System and Cap That Can be Incorporated in Said ClosureDecember, 2008Erice Irurita
20070012650Container with Improved Crush ResistanceJanuary, 2007Eble
20090205572Bottle cap for a bird feederAugust, 2009Gardner
20090321384Plastic container having vacuum panelsDecember, 2009Zhang et al.



Foreign References:
WO2013044271A12013-03-28
GB2509848A2014-07-16
WO2014145700A22014-09-18
WO2015017569A22015-02-05
Primary Examiner:
CANFIELD, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McCarthy Tetrault LLP (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A collapsible bottle movable between an expanded configuration and a collapsed configuration, the bottle comprising: a neck; and a main body extending between an upper end adjacent the neck and a lower end opposite the neck, the main body defining a fluid cavity to store fluid when the collapsible bottle is in the expanded configuration, and the main body including a primary indentation proximate the lower end of the main body to assist in collapsing the bottle in a predetermined manner, a portion of the lower end of the main body moving in a direction toward the neck as the main body bends, folds and/or collapses in a region of the primary indentation when the collapsible bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

2. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes a front sidewall, and wherein the front sidewall includes a transverse groove that extends across the front sidewall to assist in collapsing the bottle in the predetermined manner.

3. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes a front sidewall, and wherein the front sidewall includes an arcuate groove between the upper end and the lower end of the main body that extends transversely across the front sidewall and assists in collapsing the bottle in the predetermined manner.

4. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes a front sidewall, and wherein the front sidewall includes a coupling cavity proximate the lower end of the main body for coupling to adjacent collapsed bottles or a foundation when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration.

5. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes a front sidewall and a rear sidewall, and wherein the bottle is configured to form one of a series of overlapping tiles when in the collapsed configuration, the front sidewall forming a lower tile surface and the rear sidewall forming an upper tile surface.

6. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes lower corner regions that are configured to be depressed inwardly to assist in transitioning the bottle from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

7. The collapsible bottle of claim 6 wherein the lower end of the main body forms a catch structure when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration, and wherein the inwardly depressed corner regions assist in locking the catch structure in a rigid position.

8. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein a bottom of the main body includes a pocket and relief features, the relief features configured to assist in enabling rotation of the pocket toward the neck when the bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

9. The collapsible bottle of claim 1 wherein the main body includes a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile over a majority of a height thereof and wherein the bottle tapers from the lower end toward the upper end.

10. A tile system, comprising: a plurality of bottles in a collapsed configuration; and an elongated mounting structure for securing at least some of the plurality of bottles to a foundation.

11. The tile system of claim 10 wherein at least one of the plurality of bottles is provided with a cap that is configured to attach to the elongated mounting structure.

12. The tile system of claim 10 wherein the elongated mounting structure is a flexible strap.

13. The tile system of claim 10 wherein the elongated mounting structure is a rigid support structure having an array of longitudinally spaced apertures, each of the apertures having a profile to receive a neck portion of a respective one of the plurality of bottles.

14. The tile system of claim 10 wherein the elongated mounting structure is a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a portion of a respective one of the plurality of bottles.

15. The tile system of claim 14 wherein the cross-sectional profile of the channel member is generally c-shaped and includes at least one catch, hook or barb to assist in retaining a neck portion of each bottle within a cavity of the channel member.

16. The tile system of claim 14 wherein the channel member is resilient and flexible to allow a neck portion of each bottle to be inserted into a cavity of the channel member with a snap fit.

17. The tile system of claim 14 wherein the elongated mounting structure includes a plurality of hook structures spaced along a longitudinal length thereof.

18. The tile system of claim 10 comprising a plurality of elongated mounting structures, each of the elongated mounting structures including a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a portion of each bottle from a first respective grouping of the plurality of bottles and including a plurality of hook structures to engage a lower end of each bottle from a second respective grouping of the plurality of bottles.

19. The tile system of claim 18 wherein the plurality of elongated mounting structures includes a first elongated mounting structure in which the channel member is engaged with a neck portion of each of a first linear arrangement of the bottles, a second elongated mounting structure in which the hook structures thereof are engaged with a base portion of each of the first linear arrangement of the bottles, and a third elongated mounting structure positioned between the first and second elongated mounting structures to underlie a mid-region of each of the first linear arrangement of the bottles.

20. The tile system of claim 18 wherein each of a linear arrangement of the bottles are supported by a series of the elongated mounting structures at a neck portion, a base portion and an intermediate portion between the neck portion and the base portion.

21. A building component made by a process, comprising: obtaining a thin shell vessel that includes at least one indentation or groove positioned to assist in reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from an expanded configuration into a predefined collapsed configuration; and reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from the expanded configuration to the predefined collapsed configuration with the aid of the at least one indentation or groove to make the building component.

22. The building component of claim 21 wherein reconfiguring the thin shell vessel includes implementing surface area manipulation techniques to transform the thin shell vessel into the predefined collapsed configuration to make the building component, the building component having generally the same surface area as the thin shell vessel but a reduced volume and a modified shape.

23. The building component of claim 21 wherein the thin shell vessel is a molded bottle and the building component is a tile unit.

24. The building component of claim 23 wherein the molded bottle comprises a neck and a main body extending between an upper end adjacent the neck and a lower end opposite the neck, the main body defining a fluid cavity to store fluid when the molded bottle is in the expanded configuration, and the main body including the at least one indention or groove proximate the lower end of the main body to assist in collapsing the molded bottle in a predetermined manner, a portion of the lower end of the main body moving in a direction toward the neck as the main body bends, folds and/or collapses in a region of at least one indention or groove when the molded bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

25. A method, comprising: obtaining a plurality of thin shell vessels that each include at least one indentation or groove positioned to assist in reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from an expanded configuration into a predefined collapsed configuration; and reconfiguring each of the plurality of thin shell vessels from the expanded configuration to the predefined collapsed configuration with the aid of the at least one indentation or groove to form building components.

26. The method of claim 25 wherein the thin shell vessels are molded bottles and the building components are tiles.

27. The method of claim 26, further comprising: arranging the tiles together to form a tiled building structure.

28. The method of claim 26, further comprising: securing the tiles together to form a collective array of tiles.

29. The method of claim 26, further comprising: filling at least some of the tiles with a cellulose based cement mixture.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

The present disclosure is related to plastic bottles, and more particularly, to plastic bottles that are configured to collapse into a tile structure, caps thereof and related systems, components and methods, including building components or other structures made from a collapsible shell that is designed to fold or collapse in a consistent manner to a final predefined configuration that has a distinct use or purpose apart from the collapsible shell in an expanded configuration.

2. Description of the Related Art

Environment friendly building systems utilizing recycled/upcycled, collapsed, preformed and post consumer plastic bottles are known and disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,245,475, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BRIEF SUMMARY

Embodiments described herein include collapsible bottles that are configured to collapse into predefined tile units. In this manner, waste bottles may be collected and repurposed and effectively taken out of the waste stream (“out cycled”) by putting the materials to permanent or more permanent uses, such as, for example, as roof or siding structures. Other related systems, components and methods are also provided.

For example, according to one embodiment, a collapsible bottle that is movable between an expanded configuration and a collapsed configuration may be summarized as including a neck and a main body extending between an upper end adjacent the neck and a lower end opposite the neck, the main body defining a fluid cavity to store fluid when the collapsible bottle is in the expanded configuration, and the main body including a primary indentation proximate the lower end of the main body to assist in collapsing the bottle in a predetermined manner. A portion of the lower end of the main body may move in a direction toward the neck as the main body bends, folds and/or collapses in a region of the primary indentation when the collapsible bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

The main body may include a front sidewall having a transverse groove that extends across the front sidewall to assist in collapsing the bottle in the predetermined manner. The main body may include a front sidewall having an arcuate groove between the upper end and the lower end of the main body that extends transversely across the front sidewall and assists in collapsing the bottle in the predetermined manner. The main body may include a front sidewall having a coupling cavity proximate the lower end of the main body for coupling to adjacent collapsed bottles or a foundation when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration. When provided, the coupling cavity may be sized and shaped to receive a distal end of a hook structure for securing the lower end of the bottle to a foundation. The main body may include a rear sidewall opposite the front sidewall, which includes a transverse ridge that extends completely across the rear sidewall. The main body may have a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile. When viewing the main body in a direction normal to the front sidewall, a central portion of the main body between the upper end and the lower end may bulge outwardly. The main body may include a front sidewall and a rear sidewall, and wherein the bottle may be configured to form one of a series of overlapping tiles when in the collapsed configuration, the front sidewall forming a lower tile surface and the rear sidewall forming an upper tile surface.

The main body may include lower corner regions that may be configured to be depressed inwardly to assist in transitioning the bottle from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration. The lower end of the main body may form a catch structure when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration, and wherein the inwardly depressed corner regions may assist in locking the catch structure in a rigid position. The main body may include opposing lateral sidewalls, and wherein an interface between each of the lower corner regions and a respective one of the opposing side sidewalls may form an arcuate boundary. A bottom of the main body may include a pocket and relief features, the relief features configured to assist in enabling rotation of the pocket toward the neck when the bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration. The main body may include a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile over a majority of a height thereof and wherein the bottle tapers from the lower end toward the upper end. The front sidewall may include a concave indentation adjacent to the primary indentation to provide clearance for a coupling device used to secure the bottle to adjacent bottles when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration. The front sidewall and an opposing rear sidewall may each include a convex portion in the expanded configuration proximate the upper end of the main body.

According to another embodiment, a tile system may be summarized as including a plurality of bottles in a collapsed configuration and an elongated mounting structure for securing at least some of the plurality of bottles to a foundation. At least one of the plurality of bottles may be provided with a cap that is configured to attach to the elongated mounting structure. The cap may include a base member and a closable lid member securable to the base member with the elongated mounting structure received therebetween. The elongated mounting structure may be a flexible strap. The elongated mounting structure may be a rigid support structure having an array of longitudinally spaced apertures, each of the apertures having a profile to receive a neck portion of a respective one of the plurality of bottles. The elongated mounting structure may be a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a portion of a respective one of the plurality of bottles. The cross-sectional profile of the channel member may be generally c-shaped and may include at least one catch, hook or barb to assist in retaining a neck portion of each bottle within a cavity of the channel member. The channel member may be resilient and flexible to allow a neck portion of each bottle to be inserted into a cavity of the channel member with a snap fit. The elongated mounting structure may include a plurality of hook structures spaced along a longitudinal length thereof. Each of the plurality of hook structures may be an integral portion of the channel member. Each of the plurality of hook structures may be bent from a surface of the channel member. A distal end portion of each of the plurality of hook structures may include a profile that is correspondingly shaped to a coupling cavity in a respective bottle that is engaged by the hook structure. The plurality of hook structures may be removably coupled to the channel member.

The tile system may include a plurality of elongated mounting structures, with each of the elongated mounting structures including a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a portion of each bottle from a first respective grouping of the plurality of bottles and including a plurality of hook structures to engage a lower end of each bottle from a second respective grouping of the plurality of bottles. The plurality of elongated mounting structures may include a first elongated mounting structure in which the channel member is engaged with a neck portion of each of a first linear arrangement of the bottles, a second elongated mounting structure in which the hook structures thereof are engaged with a base portion of each of the first linear arrangement of the bottles, and a third elongated mounting structure positioned between the first and second elongated mounting structures to underlie a mid-region of each of the first linear arrangement of the bottles. Each of a linear arrangement of the bottles may be supported by a series of the elongated mounting structures at a neck portion, a base portion and an intermediate portion between the neck portion and the base portion. The bottles may be attached to the foundation without nails or screws. At least one of the plurality of bottles may be provided with a cap having a predefined cavity to receive and orient a mechanical fastener for attaching the at least one bottle to the foundation. The foundation may be a roof or a wall.

According to another embodiment, a method of collapsing a bottle to form a tile may be summarized as including depressing corner regions of the bottle inwardly and rotating a portion of the bottom of the bottle forward toward a neck portion of the bottle to form a catch structure. Depressing the corner regions of the bottle inwardly may include depressing the corner regions to include concave depressions. Rotating the portion of the bottom of the bottle forward toward the neck portion may include collapsing a front sidewall at a primary indentation formed therein proximate a lower end of the bottle. Rotating the portion of the bottom of the bottle forward toward the neck portion may include bending the bottom of the bottle at relief features formed therein. The method may further include urging a lower portion of a front sidewall of the bottle delineated by an arcuate groove formed therein to shift toward the neck portion. The method may further include depressing one or more of convex portions of the bottle located on opposing sides of an upper end thereof to become concave. The method may further include collapsing opposing lateral sidewalls of the bottle inwardly. The method may further include scoring a perimeter portion of the corner regions of the bottle prior to depressing the corner regions of the bottle inwardly.

According to another embodiment, a method of forming a tiled structure may be summarized as including collapsing a plurality of bottles and securing the plurality of bottles to a foundation with an elongated mounting structure. Securing the plurality of bottles to the foundation with the elongated mounting structure may include snapping a neck portion of each bottle into a respective aperture formed in the elongated mounting structure. Securing the plurality of bottles to the foundation with the elongated mounting structure may include enclosing a strap within respective cap of each bottle. Securing the plurality of bottles to the foundation with the elongated mounting structure may include inserting a portion of each bottle into a channel of the elongated mounting structure. Securing the plurality of bottles to the foundation with the elongated mounting structure may include engaging a lower end of each bottle with a respective hook structure of the elongated mounting structure. Securing the plurality of bottles to the foundation with the elongated mounting structure may include inserting a portion of each bottle from a first linear arrangement of the bottles into a channel of the elongated mounting structure and engaging a lower end of each bottle from a second linear arrangement of the bottles with a respective hook of the elongated mounting structure.

According to another embodiment, a bottle cap may be summarized as including a base member having internal threads for engaging a bottle and including a storage cavity to store an item with the bottle, an elongated arm member extending outward from the base member, and a lid member hingedly coupled to the base member to move between a closed configuration in which the lid member overlies the base member and an opened configuration in which the storage cavity is uncovered. The bottle cap may consist of two pieces, the base member defining one piece and the lid member and the elongated arm collectively defining the other piece. The base member may be formed of a first material and the lid member and the elongated arm may be formed of a second material that is different than the first material. The lid member and the elongated arm may be removably attachable to the base member. The base member, the lid member and the elongated arm may be injection molded portions of a single, integrally formed bottle cap. The storage cavity may be sized and shaped to receive and orient a mechanical fastener for attaching the bottle cap to a foundation. The bottle cap may further include an item positioned in the storage cavity; and a seal to sealingly enclose the item in the storage cavity. The item may be a seed, a vitamin or a supplement.

According to another embodiment, a tile system may be summarized as including a plurality of bottles in a collapsed configuration at least partially filled with a cellulose based cement mixture. The cellulose based cement mixture may include material from a package for shipping and storing a collection of the bottles.

According to another embodiment, a method of forming a tiled structure may be summarized include collapsing a plurality of bottles, at least partially filling the plurality of bottles with a cellulose based cement mixture, and securing the plurality of bottles to a foundation in a tiled arrangement.

According to another embodiment, a carbon containment system may be summarized as including an impermeable vessel filled with a cellulose based cement mixture. The impermeable vessel may be a collapsed plastic bottle in the form of a tile or other building component.

According to another embodiment, a carbon containment system may be summarized as including a structure formed of a cellulose based cement mixture comprising post-consumer waste and a barrier that covers, encloses or encapsulates the structure formed of the cellulose based cement mixture.

According to another embodiment, a building component made by a process may be summarized as including obtaining a thin shell vessel that includes at least one indentation or groove positioned to assist in reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from an expanded configuration into a predefined collapsed configuration; and reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from the expanded configuration to the predefined collapsed configuration with the aid of the at least one indentation or groove to make the building component. Reconfiguring the thin shell vessel may include implementing surface area manipulation techniques to transform the thin shell vessel into the predefined collapsed configuration to make the building component, the building component having generally the same surface area as the thin shell vessel but a reduced volume and a modified shape. In some instances, the thin shell vessel may be a molded bottle and the building component may be a tile unit. The molded bottle may include a neck and a main body extending between an upper end adjacent the neck and a lower end opposite the neck, the main body defining a fluid cavity to store fluid when the molded bottle is in the expanded configuration. The main body may include the at least one indention or groove proximate the lower end of the main body to assist in collapsing the molded bottle in a predetermined manner. A portion of the lower end of the main body may move in a direction toward the neck as the main body bends, folds and/or collapses in a region of at least one indention or groove when the molded bottle transitions from the expanded configuration to the collapsed configuration.

According to yet another embodiment, a method may be summarized as obtaining a plurality of thin shell vessels that each include at least one indentation or groove positioned to assist in reconfiguring the thin shell vessel from an expanded configuration into a predefined collapsed configuration; and reconfiguring each of the plurality of thin shell vessels from the expanded configuration to the predefined collapsed configuration with the aid of the at least one indentation or groove to form building components. The thin shell vessels may be molded bottles and the building components may be tiles. The method may further include arranging the tiles together to form a tiled building structure. The method may further include securing the tiles together to form a collective array of tiles. The method may further include filling at least some of the tiles with a cellulose based cement mixture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portion of a tiled roof structure, according to one embodiment, wherein each tile comprises a collapsed plastic bottle.

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating a progression of a method of forming a tile, according to one embodiment, which starts with a plastic bottle in an expanded configuration and ends in a tile in a collapsed configuration.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a collapsible plastic bottle, according to one embodiment, shown in an expanded configuration.

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of the collapsible plastic bottle of FIG. 3 shown in a collapsed configuration.

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the bottle of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a rear elevation view of the bottle of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the bottle of FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the bottle of FIG. 3.

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the bottle of FIG. 3.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the bottle of FIG. 3 taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 11 shows several views of the collapsible plastic bottle of FIG. 3 as grasped by a user in different orientations.

FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a bottle cap, according to one embodiment, usable with the collapsible plastic bottles disclosed herein.

FIG. 13 is an isometric exploded view of the bottle cap of FIG. 12 along with an example item storable therein.

FIG. 14 is a side elevation view of the bottle cap of FIG. 12.

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional side view of the bottle cap of FIG. 12.

FIGS. 16A-16C illustrate various uses of a bottle cap, according to another embodiment.

FIG. 17 is a partial side elevation view of a series of collapsed bottles coupled together and fastened to a foundation to form a tiled building structure.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a series of bottles coupling to an elongated mounting structure, according to one embodiment.

FIG. 19 is a top plan view of the series of bottles and the elongated mounting structure of FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a series of bottles coupling to an elongated mounting structure, according to another embodiment.

FIG. 21 is an isometric view of an array of bottles coupling to elongated mounting structures, according to yet another embodiment.

FIG. 22 is an enlarged partial detail view of the array of bottles and the elongated mounting structures of FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 is side elevation view of the array of bottles and the elongated mounting structures of FIG. 21.

FIG. 24 is an isometric view of a portion of an elongated mounting structure and separate hook structures, according to another embodiment.

FIG. 25 is a front elevation view of a collapsible plastic bottle, according to another embodiment, shown in an expanded configuration.

FIG. 26 is a side elevation view of the collapsible plastic bottle of FIG. 25.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, certain specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various disclosed embodiments. However, one of ordinary skill in the relevant art will recognize that embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures associated with plastic bottles, bottle caps and roofing or siding systems, may not be shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments.

Unless the context requires otherwise, throughout the specification and claims which follow, the word “comprise” and variations thereof, such as, “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed in an open, inclusive sense, that is as “including, but not limited to.”

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.

As used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. It should also be noted that the term “or” is generally employed in its sense including “and/or” unless the content clearly dictates otherwise.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example roofing system 10 comprising a plurality of tiles 12′. The tiles 12′ are in the form of collapsed plastic bottles arranged in an array and coupled to a foundation of the roof, such as, for example, roof sheathing 11. FIG. 2 illustrates the transition of a plastic bottle 12 from an expanded configuration E, shown at left, to a collapsed configuration C, shown at right. In the expanded configuration E, the bottle 12 provides a receptacle for storing and transporting water or other liquids for consumer consumption. The bottle 12 may be made of a wide variety of plastic materials, such as, for example, high density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and may be transparent, semi-transparent or opaque. In the collapsed configuration C, the bottle 12 forms a tile 12′ that is configured to be coupled together or otherwise arranged with adjacent tiles to form an array that is well suited for roofing and siding applications. In some embodiments, the tiles 12′ may have an empty internal space or cavity. In other embodiments, the tiles 12′ may be at least partially filled with a fill material. In some instances, the fill material may comprise pulverized waste mixed with a polymeric material, grout, lightweight concrete or other material. The fill material may be selected to provide a desired level of insulation or to have other selected properties. Advantageously, using a fill material of pulverized waste containing cellulose mixed with a polymeric matrix, grout, lightweight concrete or other material provides environmental benefits in addition to those provided by reusing the host plastic bottles 12.

FIGS. 3 through 11 show an example embodiment of a collapsible plastic bottle 12 that can be advantageously transformed from an expanded configuration E, as shown in FIG. 3 for example, to a collapsed configuration C, as shown in FIG. 4. The bottle 12, 12′ includes a neck 14 and a main body 16 extending between an upper end 18 adjacent the neck 14 and a lower end 20 opposite the neck 14. The main body 16 defines an internal fluid cavity 22 to store liquids when the collapsible bottle 12 is in the expanded configuration E.

According to the example embodiment of FIGS. 3 through 11, the main body 16 has a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile with opposing front and rear sidewalls 24, 26 and opposing lateral sidewalls 28, 30. The generally rectangular cross-sectional profile may extend over a majority of a height of the bottle 12 to provide a prismatic shape that is generally rectangular. The bottle 12 may taper from the lower end 20 toward the upper end 18. As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, when viewing the main body 16 in a direction normal to the front sidewall 24, a central portion 34 of the main body 16 between the upper end 18 and the lower end 20 may bulge outwardly. Advantageously, when the bottle 12 is collapsed the bulging sides of the central portion 34 are drawn slightly inward to provide a resulting tile 12′ with a substantially linear lateral profile.

The front and rear sidewalls 24, 26 of the collapsible bottle 12 include a respective convex portion 40, 42 in the expanded configuration E proximate the upper end 18 of the main body 16 that may be depressed when transitioning into the collapsed configuration C. The convex portions 40, 42 may assist in routing rain water in a desired manner. The convex portions 40, 42 may have a circular, oval, ovoid, rectangular, square or other regularly or irregularly shaped perimeter. In some instances, one or more of the convex portions 40 may remain convex when the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration C, as shown in FIG. 4, for example. In some instances, one or more of the convex portions 42 may be concave when the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration C, as shown in FIG. 2 for example.

The front sidewall 24 further includes a primary indentation 46 proximate the lower end 20 of the main body 16 to assist in collapsing the bottle 12 in a predetermined manner. The primary indentation 46 preferably includes an inwardly directed crease or pleat that assists in forming a brake line 47 (FIG. 5) or lines about which the bottle may bend, fold and/or collapse when transitioning to the collapsed configuration C. The primary indentation 46 may have, for example, an elongated diamond shape which projects inwardly toward the rear sidewall 26. A select portion 48 of the lower end 20 of the main body 16 is configured to move in a direction toward the neck 14 as the main body 16 bends, folds and/or collapses in a region of the primary indentation 46 to form a catch structure 13 (FIG. 4) when the collapsible bottle 12 transitions from the expanded configuration E to the collapsed configuration C. The catch structure 13 may be engaged by a portion of an adjacent bottle, a fastener or other device when coupling the collapsed bottle or tile 12′ to other bottles or a roof or other building structure. When the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration C, the catch structure 13 may be held by other collapsed structures of the bottle 12 in a particularly rigid position. The catch structure 13 may be particularly resistive to forces that may be applied to attempt to re-expand the collapsed bottle 12′ toward the original expanded configuration E. In this manner, the catch structure 13 may provide a location on the collapsed bottle 12′ that is well adapted for securing the lower end 20 of the collapsed bottle 12′ to a foundation or base.

The front sidewall 24 further includes an arcuate groove 54 between the upper end 18 and the lower end 20 of the main body 16 that extends transversely across the front sidewall 24 and assists in collapsing the bottle 12 in the predetermined manner. The arcuate groove 54 may allow a lower region of the bottle 12 to shift upwardly toward the neck 14 as the select portion 48 of the lower end 20 of the main body 16 is rotated or otherwise moved in a direction toward the neck 14 during the collapsing process.

The front sidewall 24 further includes a coupling cavity 56 proximate the lower end 20 of the main body 16 for coupling to an adjacent collapsed bottle 12, building structure or fastener thereof when the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration. For instance, the coupling cavity 56 may be sized and shaped to receive a portion of a coupling structure associated with another like bottle 12 to securely couple the bottles together when assembling a tiled building structure. In other instances, the coupling cavity 56 may be sized and shaped to receive a portion of a fastener, such as, for example, a hook structure, which may be used to secure the bottle to a roof or other building structure. The coupling cavity 56 may be centrally located in the lateral direction and may form a concave pocket below the primary indentation 46. In the collapsed configuration, an opening to the coupling cavity 56 may face toward the rear sidewall 26.

The front sidewall 24 further includes a transverse groove 58 that extends across the front sidewall 24 to assist in collapsing the bottle 12 in the predetermined manner. In particular, the transverse groove 58 may assist in allowing the front sidewall 24 to bend, fold and/or collapse about the transverse groove 58 as the bottle 12 is collapsed. The transverse groove 58 may have a relatively shallow depth which is less than or equal to three times a material thickness of the front sidewall 24 and may extend substantially linearly.

The front sidewall 24 may further include a concave indentation 60 adjacent to and above the primary indentation 46 to provide clearance for a coupling device (e.g., elongated arm 100 of a bottle cap 80 of FIGS. 12 through 15) that may used to secure the bottle 12 to adjacent bottles 12 when the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration C. Although the concave indentation 60 is shown as a teardrop, it may have a variety of different shapes for various aesthetic purposes. In other instances, the concave indentation 60 may be omitted.

The rear sidewall 26 may include a transverse ridge 62 that extends completely across the rear sidewall 26. The ridge 62 may provide reinforcement to provide increased local resistance to bending to assist in ensuring the bottle 12 is collapsed in the predetermined manner. The ridge 62 may be relatively short, having a height less than or equal to three times a material thickness of the rear sidewall 26, and may extend substantially linearly.

The main body 16 may further include lower corner regions 66 that are configured to be depressed inwardly to assist in transitioning the bottle 12 from the expanded configuration E to the collapsed configuration C. When the bottle 12 is in the collapsed configuration C, the inwardly depressed corner regions 66 may assist in locking the catch structure 13 in a particularly rigid position. An interface between each of the lower corner regions 66 and a respective one of the opposing lateral sidewalls 28, 30 may form an arcuate boundary 68, as shown best in FIG. 9. The arcuate boundary 68 may assist in defining corner regions 66 that are particularly well suited to collapse in a consistent manner, the corner regions depressing to an inverted configuration to assist in defining the catch structure 13 and in locking the catch structure 13 in place.

As shown best in FIGS. 8 through 10, the main body 16 may further include a bottom 32 having a pocket 70 and relief features 72. The relief features 72 may be configured to assist in enabling rotation of the select portion 48 and pocket 70 toward the neck 14 when the bottle transitions from the expanded configuration E to the collapsed configuration C. The relief features 72 may be notches, grooves or other features formed in the bottom 32 of the bottle 12 which enable the bottle 12 to bend, fold and/or collapse along a transversely extending brake line 74 running through the relief features 72, as shown in FIG. 8.

The aforementioned features may collectively provide a bottle 12 that is particularly well suited to form one of a series of overlapping tiles 12′ when in the collapsed configuration C (FIG. 4), with the front sidewall 24 forming a lower tile surface and the rear sidewall 26 forming an upper tile surface. It is appreciated, however, that some embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific features, and may include other features (e.g., collapsible regions, brake lines, etc.) that assist in collapsing or otherwise transitioning an expanded plastic bottle to a collapsed, tile configuration that is able to couple to adjacent tiles of the same or similar form in a compact, overlapping manner.

With reference to FIGS. 2 through 4, a method of collapsing the bottle 12 to form a tile 12′ may include depressing one or more of the convex portions 40, 42 of the bottle 12 located on the opposing front and rear sidewalls 24, 26 of the upper end 18 of the bottle 12 to become concave or to include a concave or depressed portion. The convex portions 40, 42 may start as convex domes prior to being depressed and may end in a state or configuration wherein the opposing front and rear sidewalls 24, 26 of the upper end 18 of the bottle 12 defined by the convex portions 40, 42 are closer together. In other instances, one or more of the convex portions 40 of the bottle 12 located on the opposing front and rear sidewalls 24, 26 of the upper end 18 of the bottle 12 may not be depressed and may remain convex domes when the bottle is in the collapsed configuration C, as shown in FIG. 4 for example.

The method may further include collapsing the lateral sidewalls 28, 30 inwardly and creasing the bottle 12 laterally in a region immediately below the previously convex portions 40, 42.

The method may further include depressing the corner regions 66 of the bottle 12 inwardly and rotating the select portion 48 of the bottom 32 toward a neck portion 14 of the bottle 12 to form a catch structure 13. Depressing the corner regions 66 of the bottle 12 inwardly may include depressing the corner regions 66 to include concave depressions and rotating the select portion 48 of the bottom 32 of the bottle 12 toward the neck portion 14 may include collapsing the front sidewall 24 at the primary indentation 46 formed therein. Rotating the select portion 48 of the bottle 12 toward the neck portion 14 may further include bending the bottom 32 of the bottle 12 about brake line 74 defined by the relief features 72 formed therein. In some instances, the method may further include scoring a perimeter portion of the corner regions 66 prior to depressing the corner regions 66 of the bottle 12 inwardly. Scoring may be of particular assistance in collapsing the bottler 12 when the bottle 12 or the lower end 20 thereof is relatively thick or formed of a particularly rigid material.

The method may further include urging a lower portion of a front sidewall 24 of the bottle 12 delineated by the arcuate groove 54 formed therein to shift toward the neck portion 14. In doing so, a surface of the arcuate groove 54 may rotate or pivot to form a shelf or shelf-like feature in the resulting tile structure 12′.

The aspects of the methods of collapsing a bottle 12 described above may occur simultaneously or sequentially in any order. Moreover the methods may be conducted manually or automatically with the aid of a machine. Tools or a jig or fixture may be provided to assist a user in collapsing the bottles 12 in a repeatable manner to create tiles 12′ of consistent form. The resulting tiles 12′ may have a form that is the same or similar to the collapsed bottle structure shown in FIG. 4, for example. Other features may be provided in addition to or in lieu of the bottle features described above to form a collapsed bottle tile structure that is able to stack or otherwise be arranged in an overlapping array to form a tiled roof or other tiled structure.

As discussed earlier, when in the expanded configuration E, the collapsible bottles 12 described herein define an internal fluid cavity 22 to store fluid. Each bottle 12 may have a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile that extends over a majority of a height thereof to provide a prismatic shape that is generally rectangular in form. The bottle 12 may be slender, elongated and taper from the lower end 20 toward the upper end 18. The bottle 12 may also include lateral sidewalls 28 30 that exhibit some degree of concavity. In this manner, particularly ergonomic bottles 12 are provided that can be comfortably grasped. Views of a few select ways of grasping the example bottle 12 are shown in FIG. 11.

The bottles 12 may include a form factor that is particularly well suited for arranging or packing a collection of the bottles 12 in a compact, space saving manner. For example, the form factor of the bottle 12 shown in FIGS. 3 through 11 may enable a collection of compactly arranged bottles 12 wherein a first pair of upstanding bottles 12 are positioned side-by-side; a second pair of upstanding bottles 12 are positioned side-by-side and offset from the first pair of upstanding bottles 12 to define a space therebetween; and a pair of inverted bottles 12 are positioned within the space with each of the pair of inverted bottles 12 contacting a respective one of the bottles of the first pair of upstanding bottles 12 and a respective one of the bottles of the second pair of upstanding bottles 12. The slender, elongated and tapered form of the bottles 12 may enable them to nest compactly and utilize space much more efficiently than typical plastic bottles. The generally rectangular prismatic form of the bottles 12 may also provide space savings when packaging the bottles 12 together. The bottles 12 may be packaged together in a paperboard case, coupled together with shrink-wrap or otherwise packaged or connected together for storage and distribution.

FIGS. 12 through 15 show an example embodiment of a bottle cap 80 that may be used in connection with the collapsible bottles 12 and related systems and methods described herein. The example bottle cap 80 includes a base member 82 and a lid member 84. The base member 82 includes a main body 86 with internal threads 88 for engaging the neck 14 of the bottle 12. A storage cavity 90 is formed in the main body 86 to store an item 92 (FIG. 13) with the bottle 12. In one embodiment, the lid member 84 may be hingedly coupled to the base member 82 to move between a closed configuration C (FIG. 12) in which the lid member 84 overlies the base member 82 and an opened configuration (not shown) in which the storage cavity 90 is uncovered. The bottle cap 80 may also include a seal (e.g., a foil seal or plastic seal) to sealingly enclose the item 92 in the storage cavity 90. The item 92 may be a seed, a vitamin or a supplement, for example.

The bottle cap 80 also includes an elongated arm 100 extending outward from the base member 82. The elongated arm 100 may form a hook or similar structure that is configured to engage a catch portion of a respective tile 12′ when the bottle 12 to which the cap 80 is attached is collapsed and arranged with like tiles 12′ to form a tiled building structure, such as, for example, the tiled roof shown in FIG. 1. A distal end 106 of the elongated arm 100 may be shaped to engage a correspondingly shaped feature of the collapsed bottle tile 12′, such as, for example, the coupling cavity 56 located proximate the lower end 20 of the main body 16 of the example bottle 12 described above with reference to FIGS. 3 through 11.

According to the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 12 through 15, the bottle cap 80 may consist of two pieces, the base member 82 defining one piece, and the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 collectively defining the other piece. The base member 82 may be formed of a first material and the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may be formed of a second material that is different than the first material. The combination of the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may be removably attachable to the base member 82. For example, as shown in FIG. 13, the combination of the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may include a coupling feature 102 for engaging a corresponding feature 104 of the base member 82. The combination of the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may slidably engage the base member 82. In other embodiments, the lid member 84 may be formed integrally with the base member 82, with the elongated arm 100 defining a separate, distinct component therefrom. In still other embodiments, the base member 82, the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may be formed as a single, integral part. For instance, the base member 82, the lid member 84 and the elongated arm 100 may be injection molded portions of a single, integrally formed bottle cap 80. Injection molding of the bottle cap 80 may include a single shot or multi-shot process and may include one or more materials. In other instances, the bottle cap 80 may be formed via an additive manufacturing process or other process.

In addition to being configured to receive a select item 92 (e.g., a capsule, pill or seed), the storage cavity 90 of the base member 82 may also be configured to receive and orient a mechanical fastener for attaching the bottle cap 80 to a foundation.

In some embodiments, the bottle cap 80 may also include a tamper evident feature (not shown) that is fracturable to gain access to the contents of the bottle 12. In some embodiments, the tamper evident feature may be fracturable via transverse motion of the lid member 84. A thumb stud or grip may be provided on the lid member 84 to assist in sliding the lid member 84 and fracturing the taper evident feature.

As shown in FIG. 15, the bottle cap 80 may further include an indentation or cavity 108 for receiving and guiding a mechanical fastener in a predefined direction when using the mechanical fastener to secure the bottle cap 80 to a foundation or other structure. The indentation or cavity 108 may be shaped to nest with a tapered shaft of the fastener. As shown best in FIG. 15, the indentation or cavity 108 may be oriented or otherwise configured to locate and guide a fastener from an underside of the cap 80 toward a mounting structure. The fastener may be used to secure the bottle cap 80 to a wall, for example, so that the elongated arm 100 may serve as a utility hook for hanging items. The storage cavity 90 may also be sized and shaped to provide clearance for receiving and optionally guiding a mechanical fastener through the bottle cap 80 at an inclined angle relative to a horizontal reference plane defined by the bottom of the base member 82.

FIGS. 16A-C and 17 show an alternate embodiment of a bottle cap 80′ having a storage cavity 90′ and a supplemental indentation or cavity 108′ which provide similar functionality to that described above. As can be appreciated from FIG. 16A, an item 92′, such as, for example, a capsule, can be removed from the storage cavity 90′ and a mechanical fastener 118′ (e.g., a screw) can be positioned in the storage cavity 90′ and driven through the cap 80′ to secure the cap 80′ to a foundation 120′, such as, for example, roof sheathing, as shown in FIG. 17. A collapsed bottle tile 12′ may be connected to the cap 80′ such that the mechanical fastener fixes said tile 12′ to a foundation 120″. An elongated arm 100′ of the cap 80′ is shown coupling to a catch structure 13′ formed in an adjacent tile 12′. In this manner, an array of tiles 12′ may be coupled together and secured to the foundation 120′ to create a tiled roof structure similar to the roof structure shown in FIG. 1. A concave indentation 60′ in the lower tile surface of the adjacent tile 12′ may provide clearance for the elongated arm 100′ and a pocket 70′ that has been rotated from a bottom of the adjacent bottle inwardly may provide rigidity to the catch structure 13′.

In other embodiments, and with reference to FIG. 16C, a mechanical fastener may be positioned at the supplemental indentation or cavity 108′ and driven into a wall or other support structure apart from the bottle 12′ to form a utility hook.

FIGS. 18 and 19 illustrate a tile system 150 which includes a plurality of bottles 12′ in a collapsed configuration and an elongated mounting structure 152 for securing the plurality of collapsed bottles 12′ to a foundation (not shown). In the example embodiment of FIGS. 18 and 19, the elongated mounting structure 152 is in the form of a flexible strap or band which may be secured to the foundation at opposing ends thereof and/or at one or more intermediate positions. The collapsed bottles 12′ may include a bottle cap 80 as described above with reference to FIGS. 12 through 15. To assist in coupling the collapsed bottles 12′ to the foundation, the bottle cap 80 may include a predefined strap or band aperture 110 (FIGS. 14 and 15) in the lid closed configuration which is sized and shaped to receive the elongated mounting structure 152. In this manner, the cap 80 is fixable or securable to the elongated mounting structure 152 by opening the lid member 84 and closing it around the elongated mounting structure 152 such that the elongated mounting structure 152 is received between the lid member 84 and the base member 82. Advantageously, the collapsed bottles 12′ can thereby be secured to the foundation without the use of respective screws or similar mechanical fasteners. The lid member 84 may include one or more coupling devices 112, 114 (FIG. 15), such as, for example, a latch or a detent mechanism, for selectively securing the lid member 84 in the lid closed configuration.

FIG. 20 illustrates another example tile system 150′ which includes a plurality of bottles 12′ in a collapsed configuration and an elongated mounting structure 152′ for securing the plurality of collapsed bottles 12′ to a foundation (not shown). In the example embodiment of FIG. 20, the elongated mounting structure 152′ is in the form of a rigid support structure having an array of longitudinally spaced apertures 154. Each of the apertures 154 includes a profile that is sized and shaped to receive a neck 14 of a respective one of the plurality of the collapsed bottles 12′. In some instances, the apertures 154 may be sized and shaped to receive the neck 14 of each of the collapsed bottles 12′ with a snap fit and may be spaced such that the collapsed bottles 12′ are in close proximity to each other, or such that they abut each other to form a generally continuous roof structure. Advantageously, the collapsed bottles 12′ can be secured to the foundation without the use of respective screws or similar mechanical fasteners for each individual collapsed bottle 12′. Rather, the rigid elongated mounting structure 152′ can be fixed to the foundation using conventional fasteners or other joining techniques, and each of the collapsed bottles 12′ may be snapped into place quickly and efficiently. Subsequent rows of bottles 12′ may be secured to another row of bottles 12′ and/or to another rigid, elongated mounting structure 152′ or other mounting arrangement.

FIGS. 21 through 23 illustrate another example tile system 150″ which includes a plurality of bottles 12′ in a collapsed configuration and elongated mounting structures 152″ for securing the plurality of collapsed bottles 12′ to a foundation 120″. In the example embodiment of FIGS. 21 through 23, the elongated mounting structure 152″ is in the form of a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a portion of the collapsed bottles 12″. As an example, the channel member may be generally c-shaped to define a channel cavity 158 to receive a neck portion 14 of each collapsed bottle 12′ (with or without a cap) and may include end hooks or barbs 160 to assist in retaining the neck portion 14 therein. The channel member may be resilient and flexible to allow the neck portion 14 of the collapsed bottle 12′ to be inserted into the channel cavity 158 with a snap fit. In other instances, the channel member may be sufficiently rigid and the neck portion 14 of the collapsed bottles 12′ may be fed into the channel cavity 158 from ends the channel cavity or from other channel cavity access locations. The end hooks or barbs 160 may engage a collar of the neck portion 14 of each bottle and resist withdrawal of the bottle 12′ from the elongated mounting structure 152″. The elongated mounting structure 152″ can be fixed to the foundation 120″ using conventional fasteners or other joining techniques and each of the collapsed bottles 12′ may be snapped or otherwise coupled into place quickly and efficiently.

The elongated mounting structure 152″ may also include a plurality of hook structures 156 spaced along a longitudinal length thereof. The hook structures 156 may be an integral portion of the elongated mounting structure 152″. For example, with reference to FIG. 21, each of the plurality of hook structures 156 may be bent from an upper surface 157 of the elongated mounting structure 152″. More particularly, each hook structure 156 may bend about a first bend line to stand generally upright and perpendicular to the upper surface of the elongated mounting structure 152″ and may be bent about a second bend line to form an end hook or other engagement feature. The end hook or other engagement feature may include a profile that is sized and shaped to engage a coupling feature (e.g., coupling cavity 56) of an adjacent collapsed bottle 12′. Accordingly, a mounting system for the bottles 12′ may comprise a plurality of elongated mounting structures 152″ each including a channel member having a cross-sectional profile configured to insertably receive a neck portion 14 of each bottle 12′ from a first linear grouping of bottles 13A, and each including a plurality of hook structures 156 to engage a lower end 20 of each bottle 12′ from a second linear grouping of bottles 13B, as shown, for example, in FIG. 21. In addition, an intermediate channel member may be provided to underlie and support a mid-region of each bottle 12′ between the neck portion 14 and the lower end 20. In this manner, the bottles 12′ may be supported by the channel members at the neck portion 14, the lower end 20 and an intermediate portion between the neck portion 14 and the lower end 20. Advantageously, the hook structures 156 may be thin-walled members that allow adjacent bottles to nest or pack together in a particularly tight or dense manner. Additionally, a distal end portion of each of the plurality of hook structures 156 may include a profile that is correspondingly shaped to a coupling cavity 56 in a respective bottle 12′ that is engaged by the hook structure 156. This may provide a particularly rigid arrangement of tiles.

In some embodiments, a mounting system may include hook structures 176 that are removably coupled to an elongated mounting structure or channel member 152′″, as shown, for example in FIG. 24. For instance, the elongated mounting structure or channel member 152′″ may include an elongated slot 170 with enlarged access apertures 172 to receive corresponding engagement features 174 of separate hook structures 176 that may be positioned in the access apertures 172 and slid along the elongated slot 170 to position the hooks at spaced intervals for engaging respective bottles 12′. In other instances, separate hook structures may snap into respective apertures along the longitudinal length of an elongated mounting structure or channel member or otherwise be fastened or joined thereto by a variety of techniques.

Although specific mounting arrangements have been disclosed, it is appreciated that there are many different ways to secure the collapsed bottles 12′ described herein to form a generally continuous array of collapsed bottles 12′ to create a tiled building structure such as a roof or a wall. In addition, it is appreciated that various roofing and siding components, such as, for example, a ridge cap or a vent, may be adapted for use in connection with the systems and methods described herein. In addition, moisture barriers and other roofing and siding devices and materials may be used in combination with the collapsed bottles 12′ to form complete roofing and siding solutions.

As discussed above, according to some embodiments, the collapsed bottle tiles 12′ described herein may be at least partially filled with a fill material. In some instances, the fill material may comprise shredded or pulverized waste mixed with a polymeric material, grout, lightweight concrete or other material. The fill material may be selected to provide a desired level of insulation or to have other selected properties. Advantageously, using a fill material of shredded or pulverized waste containing cellulose mixed with a polymeric matrix, grout, lightweight concrete or other material will provide environmental benefits in addition to those already associated with reuse of the host plastic bottles 12. The fill material may be sealed within the bottle tiles 12′ by ultrasonic welding or other sealing techniques. In some embodiments, the bottle tiles 12′ may be partially filled and sealed at an intermediate location between opposing ends of the bottle, such as, for example, seal locations 57 shown in FIG. 4. A bottle cap may be coupled to the bottle tiles to provide a redundant or primary seal.

In one embodiment, the collapsed bottle tiles 12′ may be filled with a mixture prepared from ingredients in which a large proportion, majority or super-majority of the ingredients by weight or volume are obtained from used disposable paper coffee cups and other waste materials associated therewith (e.g., a paper napkin, an insulator sleeve, and/or used coffee grounds). The mixture may further include a supplemental base material or a binder, such as, for example, grout or concrete, and one or more additives, such as, for example, a plasticizer. Ingredients may be obtained from one or more “servings” of waste associated with consuming a cup of coffee, which may comprise material from one paper coffee cup (including plastic coating or liner thereof), one paper napkin, one paperboard insulator sleeve and a volume of used coffee grounds, along with grout material and a plasticizer. The waste material (e.g., paper coffee cup, paper napkin, paperboard insulator sleeve) may be shredded, pulverized or otherwise processed prior to or during mixture with other ingredients.

In some embodiments, the cup may be shredded such that a plastic coating or liner thereof is reduced into strip form. The strips of plastic material may be removed from the mixture or bound therein to create a strip-reinforced matrix. The amount of coffee ground, when provided, may be adjusted to vary the natural coloring of the resulting mixture. The mixture may be introduced manually or automatically into the collapsed bottles 12′ to form durable, lightweight tile structures. In the filled configuration, the plastic shell or envelope of the collapsed bottles 12′ may act as a transparent glazing surrounding the fill material. The collapsed bottle 12′ may be sealed with the fill material located therein.

Advantageously, the resulting filled roofing tiles described immediately above may effectively provide a zero waste alternative to both the plastic bottle 12 as well as the disposable paper coffee cup while providing solutions for carbon containment, reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gases.

In other embodiments, the collapsed bottle tiles 12′ may be filled with a mixture prepared from ingredients in which a large proportion, majority or super-majority of the ingredients by weight or volume are obtained from cellulose-based packaging that is used to transport or store a collection of the bottles 12 (e.g., packaging for a six-pack or twelve pack of the bottles 12). The mixture may further include a supplemental base material or a binder, such as, for example, grout or concrete, and one or more additives, such as, for example, a plasticizer. Ingredients may be obtained from one or more packages. The package(s) may be shredded, pulverized or otherwise processed prior to or during mixture with other ingredients. In some embodiments, a single package may be used as the sole source of cellulose-based material for the filler for the bottles 12 that were previously transported or stored therein, thereby providing a zero-waste alternative for the bottles and the packaging associated therewith.

A benefit of placing a cellulose based mixture in an air tight or hermetically sealed plastic bottle is that its high organic carbon content will not readily decompose into CO2 and therefore the bottle may function as an effective carbon storage or containment vessel helping to reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Thus, the plastic bottle re-configured and filled with a cellulose based cement mix or similar mixture may act as a very significant carbon storage unit when multiple units are used in residential and commercial construction as roofing tiles. There are also other CO2 related advantages of using lightweight material to fill the collapsed plastic bottles with insulating material. Insulation helps reduce energy consumption of the building to which the tiles are attached, effectively lowering the buildings carbon footprint. Additionally, the reflective surfaces of the plastic collapsed bottles reflect radiated heat thereby lowering cooling costs. These and other advantages may be provided by the various collapsible bottles, bottle caps and related systems and methods described herein.

Although embodiments described above are directed predominately to bottle structures, it is appreciated that in other embodiments a carbon containment system may be provided which includes an impermeable vessel (e.g., a plastic container) in a variety of forms and configurations which is filled with a cellulous based cement mixture or similar fill mixture. The impermeable vessel is not limited to bottle structures, but may include a wide variety of building materials (e.g., beams, blocks, flooring) or other functional or aesthetic structures. Advantageously, the cellulous based cement mixture or similar mixture may be sealed within the impermeable vessel such that carbon is effectively trapped or contained in a hermetically sealed environment. In other embodiments, a carbon containment system may include a structure (e.g., a countertop, furniture) formed of a cellulose based cement mixture comprising post-consumer waste and a barrier that covers, encloses or encapsulates the structure. The barrier may be a coating, a laminate or other device applied to a surface or surfaces of the structure. Advantageously, cellulose consumer waste can be pulled out of the waste stream and converted to useful goods that effectively store or contain carbon based matter.

According to another embodiment, a method or process involving surface area manipulation (“SAM”) is provided which entails a technique of pre-engineered reconfiguration or folding to modify the starting shape and volume of thin shell vessels or receptacles into finished secondary shapes, which would otherwise be impractical or impossible to mold in the first instance using current molding technology such as blow molding. This second phase manipulation of the product's shape and volume can be achieved either manually or in an automated or semi-automated reconfiguration process (e.g., via the aid of a machine).

The plastic molding industry is well established and efficient when it comes to mass producing expanded vessels and receptacles, such as, for example, bottles. Blow molding of PET plastic is one example of an efficient molding process for such vessels. Blow molding uses plastic preforms which are preheated to soften the material which is then stretched and blown into cavity molds to produce hollow, thin shell vessels or receptacles. As a result of the blow molding process, there are limitations to the dimensional shape of the vessel that is being blown because the process and the mold must be designed so that the expanding plastic preform reaches the walls of the mold before hardening. The length of a product is determined by, and in relation to, the length of the normally cylindrical preform but there are definite limitations based on a product's width to depth relationship, known as its aspect ratio. As a result, products with a very thin or narrow profile (i.e., width excessively dominating over depth) are difficult if not impossible to mold. Furthermore, products having overlapping sections or under folds are also extremely difficult to mold and evacuate from the mold cavity. Therefore, for these reasons, molded thin shell vessels or receptacles generally have a low aspect ratio, are typically symmetrical, and have no under folding or negative reveals. These design limitations are of little concern in the beverage Industry, for example, as typically an expanded, symmetrical bottle with no under folding is the eventual design goal. The resulting thin shell vessels or receptacles typically provide a sealable closure which provides an impermeable and secure barrier between the interior environment of the vessel or receptacle and the external environment thereto. If the vessels or receptacles are sealed and left empty, other than air, an extremely durable and very light weight bubble structure results creating an effective dead air space with insulating properties. Therefore, as an example, the inherent properties of a blow molded vessel or receptacle may have industrial applications beyond the container industry if their area, volume, and aspect ratio could be modified in a predesigned secondary reconfiguration process, an innovative process referenced herein as surface area manipulation or “SAM” for short.

As an example, double pane glass windows are essentially entrained air or gas containers that have a very high aspect ratio. Therefore, a typical cavity or double pane window made of plastic could not be blow molded for the reasons discussed above. The double pane design provides sealed dead air space between thin shell glass outer walls which increases the product's insulation or R-value as heat is not well conducted through a dead air space. Windows and glass in general provide the benefits of transparency and or translucency, impermeability, and general building envelope closure. Typically glass is fragile and limited in its overall insulating qualities. As a result, in areas having drastic temperature differences between the exterior and interior environments, triple pane windows are often used to take advantage of multiple layering of dead air spaces. Traditional windows, however, may cover large spaces, are generally an expensive material, and lose all effectiveness if cracked. Therefore, for certain construction related applications, the creation of a multilayered sheathing consisting of a redundancy of interconnected molded plastic vessels with a high width to depth ratio and encapsulating a dead air space provides various advantages.

An advantageous building component to replace glass and other construction materials and sheathing, whether intended for use in walls, floors, ceiling, roofs or other structures, could be for example the patterned interconnection of carefully designed capsules that effectively isolate interior and exterior environments. This proposed interconnection and multi-layering of a redundancy of durable double pane, securely sealed vessels, having a high aspect ratio and thin profile provides an advantageous sheathing material. Furthermore, intentionally using a blow molded base component pre-engineered to have its initial surface area reconfigured into a thin, technologically advantageous double pane-like construction element is innovative and provides an example of product design using second phase surface area manipulation or “SAM.”

The implications of product design employing “surface area manipulation” go beyond industrial applications and can be translated into unique and novel environmental and economic applications. According to one example of an improved building envelope material developed using surface area manipulation techniques, the first process (e.g., a blow molding process) may be used to produce expanded food containers which are predesigned to transition to or be reconfigured into, as a second phase, a thin shell building module (e.g., a tile, a paver, a flooring element). This may also provide opportunity for a related “waste discount strategy” which may be defined as the sale of transitory consumer products with the financial design intention to repurchase them as a prime finished material resource for a secondary product at waste prices. This transitory use of the consumer product (e.g., water bottle, food container) radically lowers the cost for its reconfigured use in its second phase as an advanced construction material (e.g., tile, paver, flooring element). From an environmental perspective, the plastic vessel or receptacle is subsequently converted to a high quality building material with an extended useful life expectancy that effectively removes the plastic from the waste stream and puts it to permanent or relatively more permanent use as an advantageous building component, for example. This form of reutilization or “out cycling” may be defined as the transitory use of consumer products with the design intention of reconfiguring them in an altered pre-defined form to secondary products of potentially greater economic, social, or environmental value that put the product's material to permanent or relatively more permanent use.

Although embodiments described herein are directed in large part to bottles that are reconfigurable into predefined tiles for roofing structures, it is appreciated that surface area manipulation or “SAM” techniques may be applied to a wide range of expanded vessels or receptacles that are reconfigurable into predefined building materials or other useful structures. These building materials or other structures may comprise generally the same surface area and mass as the original expanded vessel or receptacle from which they are formed but with a significantly reduced final volume. In many instances, the expanded shell vessels or containers will be collapsed or folded into leaner, denser and more robust or rigid end products.

In addition, although example embodiments of the bottles described herein are shown and described as having a main body with a generally rectangular cross-sectional profile over a majority of a height thereof, it is appreciated that the bottles may include a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including, for example, generally cylindrical bottles. FIGS. 25 and 26 show one example of a reconfigurable bottle 212 having features, such as, indentations or grooves 214, that are positioned and configured to assist in collapsing the bottle 212 in a consistent manner to form pre-defined tile units.

Moreover, aspects of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, including U.S. Provisional Application Ser. Nos. 61/860,833 and 61/992,768, are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. Aspects of the embodiments can be modified if necessary to employ concepts of the various patents, applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments.

These and other changes can be made to the embodiments in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the claims to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all possible embodiments along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.