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Publication numberUS20060196879 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/070,445
Publication dateSep 7, 2006
Filing dateMar 3, 2005
Priority dateMar 3, 2005
Publication number070445, 11070445, US 2006/0196879 A1, US 2006/196879 A1, US 20060196879 A1, US 20060196879A1, US 2006196879 A1, US 2006196879A1, US-A1-20060196879, US-A1-2006196879, US2006/0196879A1, US2006/196879A1, US20060196879 A1, US20060196879A1, US2006196879 A1, US2006196879A1
InventorsJeffrey Chochinov, Eric Bennett
Original AssigneeRubbermaid Commercial Products, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Transparent trash receptacle
US 20060196879 A1
Abstract
A container frame includes a container-receiving portion and at least one viewing region formed in the container-receiving portion. The viewing regions may receive side panels that are readily removable and/or replaceable. The container-receiving portion is designed to receive a transparent container such as a bag or a bucket that, when held in the trash container, is visible through the viewing regions and/or the side panels. As a result of the transparency of viewing regions, transparent container, and/or side panels, one can readily see into the container to evaluate its contents. A lid may be provided to cover the container- receiving portion so as to immobilize the side panels with respect to the container-receiving portion.
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Claims(14)
1. A container frame comprising:
a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region, wherein the container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container, such that contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the viewing region.
2. The container frame of claim 1, further comprising:
an at least partially transparent side panel supported by the container-receiving portion in the viewing region.
3. The container frame of claim 2, wherein the side panel is removable from the container-receiving portion.
4. The container frame of claim 2, further comprising:
a bracket fastened releasably connected to an upper region of the container-receiving portion and being configured to releaseably immobilize the side panel with respect to the container-receiving portion.
5. The container frame of claim 4, wherein the bracket has an upper opening for removal of the container, the upper opening having a width, and wherein the side panel includes an inwardly offset portion positioned substantially coextensive with the width of the upper opening.
6. The container frame of claim 2, wherein the side panel is formed of at least one of glass or plastic.
7. The container frame of claim 1, wherein the container-receiving portion includes an additional side with an additional viewing region.
8. The container frame of claim 7, further comprising:
an additional at least partially transparent side panel supported by the container-receiving portion in the additional viewing region.
9. A container frame comprising:
a container-receiving portion having four sides, each side having a viewing region, wherein the container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container;
four at least partially transparent side panels, each being removably supported by the container-receiving portion in a respective viewing region, wherein contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the side panels in the viewing regions; and
a bracket releasably connected to an upper end of the container-receiving portion and being configured to releaseably immobilize the side panels with respect to the container-receiving portion.
10. The container frame of claim 9, wherein the bracket has an upper opening for removal of the container, the upper opening having a width, and wherein the side panels each include an inwardly offset portion positioned substantially coextensive with the width of the upper opening.
11. A trash receptacle comprising:
a container frame comprising a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region; and
an at least partially transparent container disposed in the container-receiving portion, wherein contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the viewing region.
12. The trash receptacle of claim 11, further comprising:
an at least partially transparent side panel supported by the container-receiving portion in the viewing region.
13. The trash receptacle of claim 11, wherein the container is selected from the group consisting of a transparent bag and a transparent bucket.
14. A method of providing a transparent trash receptacle, comprising:
providing a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region, wherein the container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container;
providing an at least partially transparent side panel in the viewing region of the container-receiving portion such that contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the side panel in the viewing region; and
replacing the side panel with another at least partially transparent side panel.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In response to the threat of hidden bombs in mass transit facilities, the Department of Homeland Security has recently directed all such facilities to remove waste containers that are not bomb resistant or transparent.

A bomb-resistant container is designed to contain an explosion and thereby protect innocent bystanders in the vicinity of such a container. Bomb-resistant containers typically are prohibitively expensive (some costing upwards of $3000) and heavy (some weighing up to 900 pounds). As a result, conventional bomb-resistant containers do not present a completely effective solution.

A transparent container enables security personnel to see into the container, without having to remove a lid and/or pull the contents out of the container. As a result, a security officer can more easily determine whether a receptacle contains a suspicious package that may present a dangerous situation. Unlike bomb-resistant containers, transparent containers can be manufactured at a reasonable cost. However, over time, transparent containers may be dirtied, significantly cracked, and/or covered with graffiti. In any of those situations, viewing the contents of the container may be more difficult, at best, or impossible, at worst. As a result, a transparent container may need continual replacement and, therefore, also does not present a completely effective solution.

What is needed, therefore, is an apparatus that not only satisfies the Department of Homeland Security's directive, but does so in a cost effective manner while providing a long-term solution.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An aspect of the present invention relates to a container frame comprising a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region. The container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container, such that contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the viewing region.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a container frame comprising a container-receiving portion, four at least partially transparent side panels, and a bracket. The container-receiving portion has four sides, each side having a viewing region. The container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container. The four at least partially transparent side panels are each removably supported by the container-receiving portion in a respective viewing region. Contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the side panels in the viewing regions. The bracket is releasably connected to an upper end of the container-receiving portion and configured to releaseably immobilize the side panels with respect to the container-receiving portion.

Yet another aspect of the present invention relates to a trash receptacle comprising a container frame and an at least partially transparent container. The container frame comprises a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region. The at least partially transparent container is disposed in the container-receiving portion. Contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the viewing region.

Yet another aspect of the present invention relates to a method of providing a transparent trash receptacle. The method includes providing a container-receiving portion having a side with a viewing region, wherein the container-receiving portion is configured to receive an at least partially transparent container. The method also includes providing an at least partially transparent side panel in the viewing region of the container-receiving portion such that contents of the container are visible outside the container-receiving portion via the side panel in the viewing region. The method also includes replacing the side panel with another at least partially transparent side panel.

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description, appended claims, and accompanying exemplary embodiments shown in the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a container frame according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the container frame shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a transparent side panel that may be received and displayed in a viewing region of the container frame shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top elevation view of the side panel shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of the side panel shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a top view of a frame of the container frame of FIG. 1 shown containing four transparent side panels;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the container frame of FIG. 6 having a bracket secured thereon;

FIG. 8 is a vertical, cross-sectional side view of the container-receiving portion of the container frame of FIGS. 6 and 7 shown supporting a trash container in the form of a transparent bag;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a container frame of the type shown in FIG. 1 supporting a trash container in the form of a bag according to FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a vertical, cross-sectional side view of the container-receiving portion of the container frame of FIGS. 6 and 7 shown supporting a trash container in the form of a transparent bucket;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a container frame of the type shown in FIG. 1 supporting a trash container in the form of a bucket according to FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a container frame of the type shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 containing a container in the form of a bag, without side panels; and

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a container frame of the type shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 containing a container in the form of a bucket, without side panels.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Presently preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the drawings. An effort has been made to use the same or like reference numbers throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

A first embodiment of a container frame 100 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The container frame 100 includes a container-receiving portion 120 and a lid 110 having a plurality of windows 111 therein.

The lid 110 may be completely removable from the container-receiving portion 120 or may be connected to the container-receiving portion 120 in any conventional manner such as, for example, by fasteners, as later described in detail. If the lid 110 is completely removable from the container-receiving portion 120, the lid 110 may, when placed atop the container-receiving portion 120, be immobilized with respect to the container-receiving portion 120 in any conventional manner (e.g., pins depending from the lid may be positioned in correspondingly sized holes formed in the top of the container-receiving portion 120 or vice versa, latches, etc.).

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the lid 110 (which may be formed of, e.g., plastic, metal, fiberglass, or other suitable material) may be attached to a bracket 112 by means of a hinge 118. The bracket 112, in turn, may be fastened to upper ends 114 of uprights 124 of the container-receiving portion 120 by way of one or more fasteners (e.g., screws) 116. As later described, the bracket 112 may serve to cover one or more removable side panels 130.

The container-receiving portion 120 includes the plurality of uprights 124 (which have the upper ends 114) and a lower, base member. The uprights 124 and lower, base member can be connected by conventional means. In a preferred embodiment, channels 140 can be provided in the container-receiving portion 120, as shown in FIG. 6, to receive side panels 130, described below. A plurality of viewing regions 122 are formed between the uprights 124. The container-receiving portion 120 may be formed of, for example, plastic, metal, fiberglass, or other suitable material.

At least partially transparent side panels 130 can be provided in the viewing regions 122. Side panels 130 are shown in FIGS. 3-5. The panels 130 may be made of transparent materials such as, for example, glass or plastic. Moreover, if the panels 130 are formed of plastic, the plastic may be, e.g., acrylic, Plexiglas, plexane, polycarbonate, polyurethane, polyethylene terephthalate (“PETE”), polyester terephthalate modified with glycol (“PETG”), clarified ABS, etc. The side panels 130 may be formed, for example, by vacuum molding, blow molding, injection molding, or another suitable forming process. Preferably the side panels 130 are completely transparent (as used herein, the term transparent is intended to mean sufficiently clear to permit identification of items within the container), though it may be preferably under certain circumstances to provide a panel that is transparent in only one or more regions of the entire panel.

Although the panels 130 may be flat panes, the panels 130 may be somewhat pan shaped such that they have depressions 150 formed in a central portion thereof. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the panels 130 may have an outer side 132 and a depressed inner side 134 that serves as the base of the depression 150. Moreover, the width W1 of the outer side 132 may be wider than the width W2 of the inner side 134. As a result of the width differential, the outer side 132 may define projecting edges 136 that may be sized to slide into the channels 140 of the container-receiving portion 120, as shown in FIG. 6.

The depth D of the depression 150 is chosen so that when the side panel 130 is installed in a container-receiving portion 120 of a container frame 100: (a) the inner side 134 of one panel 130 will not interfere with the inner sides 134 of other similar panels 130 likewise installed in the container-receiving portion 120 (as shown in FIG. 6); and (b) the inner sides 134 of the panels 130 will substantially align with an inner rim 113 (which is formed of multiple widths that in total define a perimeter) of the bracket 112 (as shown in FIG. 7).

As a result of the alignment between the inner sides 134 of the panels 130 and the inner rim 113 of the bracket 112, an at least partially transparent container (preferably a completely transparent bag 210) that is positioned in the container frame 100 may be easily lifted out of the container frame 100, as shown in FIG. 8. Moreover, as a result of the ability to rotate the lid 110 with respect to the bracket 112, by means of the hinge 118, the transparent bag 210 may be lifted out of the frame 100 without detaching the bracket 112 from the container-receiving portion 120. By way of contrast, if the panels 130 were flat panes and were inserted in the channels 140, the bracket 112 would create an inward extending overhang. As a result, a transparent bag 210 hanging in the frame 100 would be subject to becoming snagged and/or torn by the overhang. Accordingly, by substantially aligning the inner sides 134 of the panels 130 with the inner rim 113 of the bracket 112, the likelihood of such snagging and/or tearing is greatly reduced.

The transparent bag 210 may be supported by the frame in any conventional manner, e.g., by being draped over the sides of the bracket 112 and maintained thereon by closing (or positioning) the lid 110 on the bracket 112. However, as shown in FIG. 7 and 8, outward facing hooks 300, may be provided on top of the bracket 112. The hooks 300 may be used to support an elastic cable 310 that may tautly hold the transparent bag 210. In other words, a transparent bag 210 placed over the hooks 300 may be retained on the hooks 300 by means of the elastic cable 310.

Another benefit of the separation in the sides 132, 134 of the panels 130 is the creation of a ledge 138 on a top side of the panels 130, as shown best in FIG. 4. The ledge 138 may be used to support an at least partially transparent container in the form of a bucket 200, as shown in FIG. 10. An outer rim 202 of the bucket 200 may be designed to rest on the ledge 138 of each of the panels 130. Moreover, the bucket 200 may have a width that is slightly smaller than the distance between two opposed panels 130, thereby maximizing the size of the container 200 that may be supported by the frame 100. Various modifications may be made to this embodiment. For example, the transparent bucket 200 may receive a transparent liner, e.g., a polyliner bag of the type shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Further, although the bucket 200 is shown as having a generally circular shaped cross-section, this is not critical; rather the bucket could have, for example, a square cross-section or other shape.

Although the container-receiving portion 120, lid 110, and bracket 112 are shown as being opaque (for ease of visual understanding purposes), it should be readily recognized that any one or more of these elements may also be transparent like the panels 130.

In another embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the bag 210 could be provided in a container-receiving portion 120 lacking panels 130. Similarly, in another embodiment lacking panels 130 shown in FIG. 13, a container in the form of a bucket 200 could be supported within the container-receiving portion 120 in the manner previously described with respect to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. In both of these embodiments, the frame 100 is intended to provide sufficient protection for the bucket 200 or bag 210 so that it is not inadvertently tipped and/or spilled by an errant walking pedestrian.

Other beneficial structures may be provided on any of the previously described embodiments. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, in those embodiments including a hinge 118, one or more retainers 600 (e.g., flexible straps) may be provided to prevent the lid 110 from being opened too far with respect to the bracket 112.

By way of further example and as shown in FIG. 2, a lock 400 may be provided on the side of the lid 110 opposite the hinge 118. The lock 400 may be configured to engage a catch 410 provided on the corresponding side of the bracket 112. As a result, when the lock 400 is engaged by the catch 410, the lid 110 may be releasably fixed with respect to the bracket 112, thereby inhibiting unauthorized access to a trash container 200, 210 provided in the frame 100.

Additionally or alternatively, fastener holes 500 may be provided in the base of the container-receiving portion 120, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. As a result, the container frame 100 may be fastened (e.g., bolted) onto a particular surface by fasteners (not shown) journalled through the holes 500 and into the surface, thereby inhibiting theft of the container frame 100.

Although the aforementioned described various embodiments of the invention, the invention is not so restricted. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made to the disclosed embodiments of the present invention, without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For example, although the container frame 100 is shown as being generally square-shaped in cross-section, this is not critical. Rather, the container frame may have a plurality of shapes including a generally circular shaped cross-section (i.e., the container frame may be generally cylindrically shaped), triangularly shaped, etc. Accordingly, these other transparent container frames and containers are fully within the scope of the claimed invention. Therefore, it should be understood that the apparatuses and methods described herein are illustrative only and are not limiting upon the scope of the invention, which is indicated by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7624915 *Feb 4, 2008Dec 1, 2009Riverwest Engineering & Design, Inc.Recycling center
US8042703Apr 27, 2009Oct 25, 2011Riverwest Engineering & Design, Inc.Recycling center
US8302916Nov 6, 2009Nov 6, 2012Riverwest Engineering & Design, Inc.Bag support with cinching mechanism
US8424815Jun 17, 2009Apr 23, 2013Riverwest Engineering & Design, Inc.Bag support
EP2762422A1 *Jan 20, 2014Aug 6, 2014Naber Holding GmbH & Co. KGKit for a refuse receptacle
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/665
International ClassificationB65D25/54
Cooperative ClassificationB65F2001/1669, B65F2220/128, B65F1/1615, B65F1/06, B65F1/1607, B65F1/1426, B65F1/141, B65F1/08
European ClassificationB65F1/16B, B65F1/06, B65F1/14D, B65F1/16C, B65F1/14C, B65F1/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 3, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: RUBBERMAID COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS LLC, VIRGINIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHOCHINOV, JEFFREY A.;BENNETT, ERIC D.;REEL/FRAME:016358/0828
Effective date: 20050225