BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a dispenser for trash container liners and, more particularly, to such a dispenser which can be placed at the bottom of a trash container without requiring any modification to the trash container.
It is fairly common to use plastic liners, or bags, for lining the inside of trash containers or garbage cans. The liners are frequently packaged in boxes, or in rolls. A liner is removed from the box or roll and placed in the trash container to line its inside. After the liner is filled with trash, it is removed from the trash container and discarded, and a new liner is then removed from the package and inserted into the trash container. Typically, the packages of trash can liners are stored in a closet or on a shelf, and a new liner must be obtained from the package before insertion into the trash container.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,503,292 to Cuccharia discloses a specially designed trash receptacle wherein a roll of trash can liners is contained in a holder beneath the receptacle and liners are inserted in the receptacle through a slot in the bottom thereof. While useful for its intended purpose, such an arrangement requires a special two-part receptacle and liner holder. It would therefore be desirable to have a dispenser for trash container liners which does not require the use of a specially designed trash container.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,671,847 to Pedersen et al discloses a trash bag dispenser which is placed in the bottom of a trash container. The dispenser includes a flexible pouch containing a continuous strip of liners, which are removed one at a time from the pouch while remaining removably secured to the following liner in the pouch. However, when the liner lining the trash container is filled, its weight presses down on the pouch, crushing it and interfering with its utility. It would therefore be desirable to have a dispenser for trash container liners which does not suffer from any of the deficiencies noted above.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In my U.S. Pat. No. 6,283,405, I disclose a dispenser for trash container liners which includes a rigid triangular box containing a supply of liners in the form of a cylindrical roll of a continuous strip of liners. The liners extend through an open slot in a side of the box and the box is detachably secured to the bottom of the trash container. While this construction overcomes the deficiencies noted above with respect to the other referenced patents, the triangular shape of the box does not lend itself to easy stacking, either on a sales shelf in a store or for storage of unused boxes. It would therefore be desirable to have a dispenser for trash container liners which retains the advantages of the construction disclosed in my '405 patent and in addition is configured for stackability.
According to the present invention, there is provided a dispenser for trash container liners which comprises a rigid box having a longitudinal axis and a trapezoidal shape when viewed in section transverse to the longitudinal axis. The trapezoidal shape has a base side, an opposing top side which is smaller than and parallel to the base side, and a pair of lateral sides which slope downwardly and outwardly from the top side to the base side. The top side is formed with an open slot elongated in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis. A supply of liners is contained within the interior of the box, the supply of liners being in the form of a continuous strip of liners separated one from the next by a line of perforations. Accordingly, the liners are removable from the box one-by-one through the open slot. The trapezoidal nature of the box acts to distribute the weight of a filled liner without crushing the box, while the flat parallel top and base sides allow a supply of dispenser boxes to be stacked.
In accordance with an aspect of this invention, the trapezoidal shape of the dispenser box is symmetrical about a line extending between the midpoints of the top and base sides.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In accordance with another aspect of this invention, the dispenser box further comprises an interior flap secured to one of the pair of lateral sides and extending toward the base side.
The foregoing will be more readily apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawings in which like elements in different figures thereof are identified by the same reference numeral and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dispenser constructed according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view showing a sheet cut out to form the box of the dispenser shown in FIG. 1, with the fold lines being shown as broken lines;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the dispenser shown in FIG. 1, taken transverse to the longitudinal axis of the dispenser box;
FIG. 4 is a view showing the dispenser according to the present invention mounted at the bottom of a trash container, shown in section, with a liner disposed for use; and
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 showing a filled liner being removed from the trash container with a subsequent liner being pulled from the inventive dispenser.
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a dispenser, designated generally by the reference numeral 10, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The dispenser 10 includes a rigid box 12 and a supply of plastic liners 14 within the box 12. As shown, the box 12 has a longitudinal axis 16. When viewed in section transverse to the axis 16, as shown in FIG. 3, the box 12 has a trapezoidal shape with a base side 18, a top side 20, and a pair of lateral sides 22, 24. The top side 20 is parallel to, and smaller than, the base side 18 and the pair of lateral sides 22, 24 slope downwardly and outwardly from the top side 20 to the base side 18. The trapezoidal shape is preferably symmetrical about a line extending between the midpoints of the top side 20 and the base side 18. The trapezoidal shape is thus preferably a truncated isosceles triangle. The top side 20 of the box 12 is formed with an open slot 26, elongated in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis 16, through which the liners 14 can be removed from the interior of the box 12.
Preferably, the box 12 is formed from a stiff corrugated cardboard material which, as seen from FIG. 2, is of unitary construction, being cut, folded and glued from a single sheet of material. Thus, the single panels 18, 20, 22 and 24 make up the correspondingly numbered sides of the box 12. The panels 28-1, 28-2, 28-3 and 28-4 together make up a first end 28 of the box 12 and the panels 30-1, 30-2, 30-3 and 30-4 together make up a second end 30 of the box 12. The open slot 26 is formed by removal of the panel 27 at its peripheral perforations. As shown in FIG. 3, the panel 32 is glued to the interior of the lateral side panel 22 and the panel 34 forms an interior flap which extends from the lateral side 22 toward the base side 18.
The liners 14 are conventionally manufactured as a continuous strip, wherein the bottom of one liner is separated from the top of the next liner in the strip by a line of perforations, so that individual liners can be separated from the strip. The strip of liners is then pleated and formed into a cylindrical roll. If desired, a cylindrical spindle 36 can be provided and the continuous strip of liners 14 would be wound thereon. The innermost liner would be firmly secured to the spindle 36, as by adhesive, staples, or the like. For assembly, the box 12 is supplied by the box manufacturer with the panels 22 and 32 glued together and with the box flattened. The box 12 is opened to expose its interior and the roll of liners 14 is inserted into the open interior of the box 12 with the cylindrical roll of liners 14 being parallel to the longitudinal axis 16 of the box 12, as shown in FIG. 3. The ends 28 and 30 of the box 12 are then sealed. The flap 34 functions to prevent the roll of liners 14 from moving freely within the box 12.
In use, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the dispenser 10 is placed at the bottom of a trash container 38. Preferably, the base side 18 of the dispenser 10 is detachably secured to the inside bottom of the container 38, illustratively by an adhesive backed hook and loop fastener set 40. With the dispenser 10 at the bottom of the container 38, a single liner can be pulled out of the box 12 through the slot 26 and its open end is draped over the open top of the container 38 so as to provide a liner for the container 38. As the liner 14 is filled, the waste material contained therein slides down the lateral sides 22, 24 of the box 12, thereby distributing the weight of the trash in a better manner than if the dispenser 10 were flat. After the liner 14 is filled, its top is closed and the entire liner is lifted from the container 38. Since the bottom of that liner is attached to the top of the next liner in the roll, the next liner is pulled from the box 12. The filled liner and the fresh liner may then be separated one from the other at the line of perforations therebetween, and the top of the next liner may then be draped over the top of the container 38, as shown in FIG. 4.
Preferably, the spindle 36 is dimensioned so that it cannot pass through the slot 26 of the box 12. Therefore, when the innermost liner of the dispenser 10 is filled and pulled out of the container 38, since its bottom is firmly secured to the spindle 36 and the spindle 36 cannot pass through the slot 26, the box 12 is removed from the bottom of the container 38 by separation of the hook and loop fastener set 40. Thus, removal of the last liner results in removal of the empty box. A fresh dispenser may then be installed in the trash container 38. The use of a spindle 36 would be in conjunction with bags which are used to line large trash containers, such as a homeowner would keep in his/her garage, since it may prove to be difficult for the homeowner to reach all the way down to the bottom of the large container to remove the empty box. However, the homeowner could still drop a new box into the container so that the hook and loop fastener set secures the box to the bottom of the container. The weight of a filled liner would aid in the securement of the hook and loop fastener set.
Accordingly, there has been disclosed an improved dispenser for trash container liners. The trapezoidal shape of the dispenser box, with its parallel top and base sides, allows a supply of dispensers to be stacked for storage and shipment, while the sloping lateral sides distribute the weight of a filled liner without crushing the box. While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed herein, it will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that various adaptations and modifications to the disclosed embodiment are possible, and it is therefore intended that this invention be limited only by the scope of the appended claims. Thus, the present invention can be manufactured in many different sizes, to fit different sized conventional trash containers, without requiring the use of a specially designed container.