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Publication numberUS20110024430 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/848,381
Publication dateFeb 3, 2011
Filing dateAug 2, 2010
Priority dateAug 3, 2009
Also published asCA2712001A1
Publication number12848381, 848381, US 2011/0024430 A1, US 2011/024430 A1, US 20110024430 A1, US 20110024430A1, US 2011024430 A1, US 2011024430A1, US-A1-20110024430, US-A1-2011024430, US2011/0024430A1, US2011/024430A1, US20110024430 A1, US20110024430A1, US2011024430 A1, US2011024430A1
InventorsCynthia R. Meissen, Nathan Manuel, Kyle L. Baltz
Original AssigneeMeissen Cynthia R, Nathan Manuel, Baltz Kyle L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reusable waste container
US 20110024430 A1
Abstract
A reusable biohazard waste container is configured such that the container can be transported without requiring any additional packaging elements. A lid is pivotally connected to the container and is movable between an open position and a closed position. A latch secures the lid to the container when in the closed position such that the container is capable of holding liquids.
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Claims(40)
1. A reusable biohazard waste container comprising:
a bottom wall;
a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container;
a lid pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position, the lid defining an upper lid surface and a lower lid surface, and wherein the lid includes a gasket feature formed within the upper lid surface and a gasket rib structure formed within the lower lid surface;
a latch to secure the lid to the container when in the closed position; and
a gasket installed on the gasket rib structure and sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the lid is in the closed position and wherein the gasket feature and the gasket rib structure are configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container and such that the lid lies flat against an outer surface of the rear wall when the lid is in the fully open position without bending the gasket.
2. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein the lid includes at least one raised stacking portion and at least one raised locating portion to facilitate locating and holding a second container on top of the lid.
3. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 2 including at least one vertical extension portion on at least one of the front, rear, and side walls to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.
4. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein the gasket feature comprises a C-shaped feature having side edge portions extending along side edges of the lid and a raised front edge portion connecting the side edge portions and extending outwardly from the upper lid surface along a front edge of the lid, the side edge portions tapering upwardly from being flat with the upper lid surface adjacent to a rear edge of the lid to the raised front edge portion.
5. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 4 wherein said gasket rib structure includes a support rib that extends about a perimeter of the lower lid surface, the support rib having a first portion that extends along the rear edge of the lid and partially along side edges of the lid and having a second portion that extends from the first portion along a remaining portion of the side edges and then extends along the front edge of the lid, the second portion extending inwardly relative to the lower lid surface to match a taper angle of the side edge portions of the gasket feature.
6. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 5 wherein the gasket rib structure includes an inner protective rib spaced inwardly relative to the support rib and an outer protective rib spaced outwardly relative to the support rib, and wherein when the gasket is mounted to the support rib the gasket extends downwardly from the lower lid surface to contact the upper edges of the front, rear, and side walls.
7. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 6 wherein the upper edges of the front, rear, and side walls comprise flat sealing surfaces.
8. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 7 wherein the upper edges of the side walls taper upwardly to match the taper angle of the gasket feature such that the upper edge of the rear wall is vertically lower than the upper edge of the front wall.
9. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein at least one of a bottom portion of the rear and front walls includes a recessed area to facilitate stacking of one container on top of another container.
10. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 9 including a second container with an upper location feature received within the recessed area locate and seat the container on top of the second container.
11. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein the latch includes a zip tie opening.
12. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 including a holding feature at each upper corner of the container to receive a portion of a bag placed within the container, the holding feature preventing the bag from inadvertently falling inside of the container.
13. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein the lid comprises a primary lid and the latch comprises a primary latch, and including a secondary lid pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch, and including a secondary latch that secures the secondary lid to the primary lid.
14. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 13 wherein the secondary latch comprises a U-shaped member having a first portion extending downwardly from a front edge of the secondary lid that transitions into a curved base portion, which then transitions into a second portion that extends upwardly from the curved base portion, and wherein the second portion is compressed toward the first portion to unlatch the secondary lid.
15. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 13 including a secondary gasket rib structure formed within a lower surface of the secondary lid and a secondary gasket installed on the secondary gasket rib structure such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the secondary latch secures the secondary lid to the container.
16. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 15 wherein the secondary gasket rib structure comprises a downwardly extending support rib extending about a perimeter of the lower surface of the secondary lid and an additional rib extending downwardly from the lower surface and spaced inwardly relative to the support rib; and wherein the secondary gasket includes a U-shaped upper portion that is received over the support rib and a bulbous lower seal portion to engage a flat sealing surface formed about a periphery of an opening in the primary lid that receives the secondary lid.
17. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 including a plurality of raised portions formed within the upper lid surface to facilitate locating and securing a second container on top of the lid.
18. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 including a plurality of vertical extension portions at each corner of the container, the vertical extension portions extending outwardly from one of the front, rear, or opposing side walls of the container to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.
19. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 1 wherein at least one of the bottom wall, front wall, rear wall, or side walls includes a removed section providing a gripping surface to receive one of a universal clamp or hook such that the container can be picked up by an automated device and moved as needed.
20. A reusable biohazard waste container comprising:
a bottom wall;
a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container;
a lid pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position, and wherein the lid includes a latch configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container; and
a recessed area formed within a lower portion of at least one of the front, rear, or side walls, the recessed area adapted to receive a portion of a second container to facilitate stacking of the container on top of the second container.
21. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 20 wherein the lid defines an upper lid surface and a lower lid surface, and including
a gasket feature formed within the upper lid surface,
a gasket rib structure formed within the lower lid surface, and
a gasket installed on the gasket rib structure and sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the lid is in the closed position, wherein the gasket feature and the gasket rib structure are configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container and such that the lid lies flat against an outer surface of the rear wall when the lid is in the fully open position without bending the gasket.
22. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 20 wherein the lid comprises a primary lid and the latch comprises a primary latch, and including a secondary lid pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch, and including a secondary latch that secures the secondary lid to the primary lid.
23. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 20 including a plurality of raised portions formed within an upper lid surface of the lid to facilitate locating and holding a second container on top of the lid.
24. A reusable biohazard waste container comprising:
a bottom wall;
a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container;
a primary lid pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position;
a primary latch to secure the lid to the container;
a secondary lid pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch; and
a secondary latch that secures the secondary lid to the primary lid and wherein the container is capable of holding liquids when both the primary and secondary latches are latched.
25. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 24 wherein the primary lid defines an upper lid surface, a lower lid surface, and an opening to receive the secondary lid, and further including
a primary gasket feature formed within the upper lid surface,
a primary gasket rib structure formed within the lower lid surface,
a primary gasket installed on the primary gasket rib structure and sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the primary lid is in the closed position,
a secondary gasket rib structure formed within a lower lid surface of the secondary lid, and
a secondary gasket installed on the secondary gasket rib structure and sealable against a flat sealing surface formed about the opening in the primary lid.
26. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 25 wherein the secondary latch comprises a U-shaped member having a first portion extending downwardly from a front edge of the secondary lid that transitions into a curved base portion, which then transitions into a second portion that extends upwardly from the curved base portion, and wherein the second portion is compressed toward the first portion to unlatch the secondary lid.
27. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 25 wherein the secondary gasket rib structure comprises a downwardly extending support rib extending about a perimeter of the lower surface of the secondary lid and an additional rib extending downwardly from the lower surface and spaced inwardly relative to the support rib; and wherein the secondary gasket includes a U-shaped upper portion that is received over the support rib and a bulbous lower seal portion to engage a flat sealing surface formed about a periphery of an opening in the primary lid that receives the secondary lid.
28. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 24 including a plurality of raised portions formed within an upper lid surface of the primary lid to facilitate locating and holding a second container on top of the primary lid.
29. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 24 including a plurality of vertical extension portions at each corner of the container, each vertical extension portion extending outwardly from one of the front, rear, or side walls of the container to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.
30. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 24 wherein at least one of the bottom wall, front wall, rear wall, or side walls includes a removed section providing a gripping surface to receive one of a universal clamp or hook such that the container can be picked up by an automated device and moved as needed.
31. A reusable waste container comprising:
a bottom wall;
a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container;
a lid pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position, and wherein the lid includes a latch configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container; and
a recessed area formed within a lower portion of at least one of the front, rear, or side walls, the recessed area including a gripping surface to receive one of a universal clamp or hook such that the container can be picked up by an automated device and moved as needed.
32. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 31 wherein the lid defines an upper lid surface and a lower lid surface, and including
a gasket feature formed within the upper lid surface,
a gasket rib structure formed within the lower lid surface, and
a gasket installed on the gasket rib structure and sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the lid is in the closed position, wherein the gasket feature and the gasket rib structure are configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container and such that the lid lies flat against an outer surface of the rear wall when the lid is in the fully open position without bending the gasket.
33. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 31 wherein the lid comprises a primary lid and the latch comprises a primary latch, and including a secondary lid pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch, and including a secondary latch that secures the secondary lid to the primary lid.
34. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 31 including a plurality of raised portions formed within an upper lid surface of the lid to facilitate locating and holding a second container on top of the lid.
35. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 31 including a plurality of vertical extension portions at each corner of the container, each vertical extension portion extending outwardly from one of the front, rear, or side walls of the container to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.
36. A reusable biohazard waste container comprising:
a bottom wall;
a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container;
a lid pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position, and wherein the lid includes a latch configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container; and
a plurality of vertical extension portions at each corner of the container, each vertical extension portion extending outwardly from one of the front, rear, or side walls of the container to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.
37. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 36 wherein each of the front wall, rear wall, and side walls includes two vertical extension portions with one of the two vertical extension portions being positioned near one corner of the container and the other of the two vertical extension portions being located near another corner of the container.
38. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 36 including a plurality of raised portions formed within an upper lid surface of the lid to facilitate locating and securing a second container on top of the lid.
39. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 36 wherein the lid defines an upper lid surface and a lower lid surface, and including
a gasket feature formed within the upper lid surface,
a gasket rib structure formed within the lower lid surface, and
a gasket installed on the gasket rib structure and sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the lid is in the closed position, wherein the gasket feature and the gasket rib structure are configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container and such that the lid lies flat against an outer surface of the rear wall when the lid is in the fully open position without bending the gasket.
40. The reusable biohazard waste container according to claim 41 wherein the lid comprises a primary lid and the latch comprises a primary latch, and including a secondary lid pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch, and including a secondary latch that secures the secondary lid to the primary lid.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/230,797, filed Aug. 3, 2009, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/296,623, filed Jan. 20, 2010.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a reusable biohazard waste container that is properly packaged such that the container can be transported without requiring any additional packaging elements.

Biohazard waste containers are used as containment receptacles for transporting biohazard waste streams. While these containers can be used for any type of biohazard waste, one example of such a container is referred to as a “sharps” container. Biological sharps typically include, but are not limited to, items such as hypodermic needles, syringes, Pasteur pipettes, broken glassware, broken plastic-ware, lancets, glass slides, cover slips, plastic pipettes, pipette tips or any other material that is able to puncture a plastic trash bag Such items must be placed into impervious, rigid, puncture-resistant containers to avoid injury during transport. Once an item has been used, it is placed in the waste container for disposal or reuse. Once the container is full, the container is transported to a facility such that the waste can be properly disposed of or recycled for reuse.

Due to the contaminated and potentially hazardous nature of the contents of the container, these containers need to be shipped within a properly packaged environment. If the container is properly sealed then it can be transported without any form of secondary packaging. Typically, most biohazard waste is double packaged either by having waste disposed within a tied-off red bag that is deposited within a container, or by depositing the waste in one container that is then placed within a separate outer container for transportation. Requiring additional containers and/or other packaging elements is expensive, and further takes up valuable cargo space.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A reusable biohazard waste container is configured such that the container can be transported without requiring any additional packaging elements. The container includes a bottom wall, a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls that extend upwardly from the bottom wall to form a box-shaped biohazard waste container. A lid is pivotally connected to the container to be movable between an open position and a closed position. A latch secures the lid to the container when in the closed position such that the container is capable of holding liquids.

In one example, the lid includes a gasket feature formed within an upper lid surface and a gasket rib structure formed within a lower lid surface. A gasket is installed on the gasket rib structure and is sealable against upper edges of the front, rear and side walls when the lid is in the closed position. The gasket feature and the gasket rib structure are configured such that the container is capable of holding liquids when the latch secures the lid to the container and such that the lid lies flat against an outer surface of the rear wall when the lid is in the fully open position without bending the gasket.

In one example, the lid comprises a primary lid and the latch comprises a primary latch. The primary lid includes an opening for a secondary lid that is pivotally attached to the primary lid to provide access to an interior of the container without having to unlatch the primary latch. A secondary latch secures the secondary lid to the primary lid such that the container is capable of holding liquids when both the primary and secondary latches are latched.

In one example, a recessed area is formed within a lower portion of at least one of the front, rear, or side walls. The recessed area is adapted to receive a portion of a second container to facilitate stacking of the container on top of the second container.

In one example, a recessed area is formed within the container and includes a gripping surface to receive one of a universal clamp or hook. This allows the container to be picked up by an automated device and moved as needed.

In one example, a plurality of vertical extension portions are located at each corner of the container. Each vertical extension portion extends outwardly from one of the front, rear, or side walls of the container to nest on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.

In one example, the lid includes at least one raised locating portion to locate a second container on top of the lid.

In one example, the lid includes at least one raised stacking portion to hold a second container on top of the lid.

These and other features of the present invention can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an iso view of a reusable biohazard waste container including the subject invention.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a front view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows a back view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 shows an enlarged back view of a hinge area of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 shows a top view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 shows a bottom view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 a shows an iso view of a lid of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 b shows a front view of the lid of FIG. 8 a.

FIG. 8 c shows a side view of the lid of FIG. 8 a.

FIG. 8 d shows a top view of the lid of FIG. 8 a.

FIG. 8 e shows a bottom view of the lid of FIG. 8 a.

FIG. 9 shows an enlarged bottom view in a gasket rib area of the lid of FIG. 8 a.

FIG. 10 is an iso view of FIG. 9 showing a gasket rib.

FIG. 11 is the same as FIG. 10 but with a gasket installed on the gasket rib.

FIG. 12 is an iso view facing an internal rear portion of the container, and which shows a gasket sealing surface.

FIG. 13 shows an example of an extruded gasket profile.

FIG. 14 shows an iso view of the container without a lid to show gasket sealing surfaces about a perimeter of the container.

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 14 but with a gasket placed against the gasket sealing surfaces.

FIG. 16 is an enlarged iso view of a recessed area in an exterior of the container for stacking purposes.

FIG. 17 is an enlarged iso view showing a sharps container stacked on top of a medical waste container.

FIG. 18 is an enlarged view of a latch area of the container showing a latch member of the lid latched to the container.

FIG. 19 is similar to FIG. 18 but does not show the lid.

FIG. 20 is an enlarged corner area of the container which shows a bag holding device.

FIG. 21 shows an iso view of another example of a reusable biohazard waste container

FIG. 22 is a front view of the container of FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 is a top view of the container of FIG. 21.

FIG. 24 is an iso view of a lid of the container of FIG. 21.

FIG. 25 is a top view of the lid of FIG. 24.

FIG. 26 is a side view of the lid of FIG. 24.

FIG. 27 is a front view of the lid of FIG. 24.

FIG. 28 is an iso view of a sub-lid of the lid of FIG. 24.

FIG. 29 is a front view of the sub-lid of FIG. 28.

FIG. 30 is a rear view of the sub-lid of FIG. 28.

FIG. 31 is a side view of the sub-lid of FIG. 28.

FIG. 32 is a second view of the sub-lid of FIG. 31.

FIG. 33 is a cross-section view of a gasket used in the sub-lid.

FIG. 34 is a bottom view of the sub-lid of FIG. 31.

FIG. 35 is view similar to FIG. 24 but showing the sub-lid in an open position.

FIG. 36 is a bottom view of the container of FIG. 21.

FIG. 37 is an enlarged view of a clamp/hook feature formed within one side of the container of FIG. 21.

FIG. 38 is a section view of FIG. 37 showing a rotating swing clamp engaging the clamp feature.

FIG. 39 is a section view of FIG. 37 showing a hook that engages the hook feature.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A reusable biohazard waste container 10 is shown in FIGS. 1-7. The container 10 is used as a containment receptacle for transporting and/or collecting any type of biohazard waste stream. In one example, the container is used as a sharps container. The container includes a bottom wall 12, a front wall 14, a rear wall 16, and a pair of side walls 18 that extend up from the bottom wall 12 and connect the front wall 14 to the rear wall 16 to form a box-shaped container.

A lid 20 is attached to the rear wall 16 at a hinged connection 22. The lid 20 is moveable between a closed position, shown in FIGS. 1-2, to an open position indicated by arrow 24 in FIG. 2. As shown, when in the open position, the lid 20 is rotated 270 degrees and lies flat against the rear wall 16. A latch 26 is used to secure the lid 20 to the container 10 when in the closed position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the hinged connection 22 includes a first set of hinge members 28 on the container 10 that interface with a second set of hinge members 30 on the lid 20. The first set of hinge members 28 are spaced apart from each other by a distance that generally corresponds to a length of one hinge member 30 of the second set of hinge members 30. The second set of hinge members 30 are spaced apart from each other by a distance that generally corresponds to a length of one hinge member 28 of the first set of hinge members.

A hinge feature 32 is formed within the second set of hinge members 30. In one example, the hinge feature 32 is permanently molded as one piece with the lid 20 and extends between adjacent hinge members 30. The hinge feature 32 comprises a series of axially extending rod portions 34 that are exposed for connection to the first set of hinge members 28. The first set of hinge members 28 comprise curved members with open recesses that are configured to receive the rod portions 34. The rod portions 34 of the lid 20 are positioned 180 degrees relative to the closed position such that the rod portions 34 in the lid 20 can be snapped into the hinge members 28.

FIGS. 8 a-8 e show the lid 20 in greater detail. An upper surface 38 of the lid 20 is configured to have a gasket feature 40. The gasket feature 40 is configured to have side edge portions 42 taper gradually upwardly from a flat surface near a rear portion of the lid at each side edge 44 of the lid 20 to a raised front edge portion 46 as best shown in FIGS. 1, 8 a, and 8 c. The front edge portion 46 extends along a front edge 48 of the lid 20 and connects the side edge portions 42. Thus, the gasket feature 40 comprises a raised C-shaped feature formed on the lid 20 with distal ends lying flat with the lid 20, and leg portions that extend at an upward angle from the distal ends to a raised center portion extending along a front edge of the lid 20.

The gasket feature 40 corresponds to a gasket rib structure 50 that is formed within a lower surface 52 of the lid 20 (see FIGS. 8 e and 9-11). The gasket rib structure 50 receives a gasket 54 (FIGS. 10-11). When installed, the gasket 54 allows the container to be considered leak proof or leak resistant and capable of holding liquids when the lid 20 is latched in the closed position. Optionally, when the container is only required to hold biohazard non-liquids, the gasket may be eliminated. The angled gasket feature 40 is required to allow the lid 20 to lie flat against the rear wall 16 when the lid 20 is in the fully open position (as indicated at 24 in FIG. 2) without kinking/bending the gasket 54.

The gasket rib structure 50 includes a support rib 56 that extends about a perimeter of the lower surface 52 of the lid 20. As shown in FIG. 8 e, the support rib 56 includes a first portion 56 a that extends along a rear edge of the lid 20 and along side edge portions closes to the rear of the lid 20. The support rib 56 includes a second portion 56 b that transitions from the first portion 56 a and extends inwardly relative to the surface 52 to match the angled portion of the gasket feature 40. As discussed above, the gasket support rib 56 is configured to extend into this angled portion of the lid 20 such that the lid 20 can lie flat against the rear wall 16 when opened without adversely affecting the gasket 54 itself during opening and closing movement.

The gasket rib structure 50 also includes an inner protective rib 60 that is spaced inwardly relative to the support rib 56 and a split outer protective rib structure 62 that is spaced outward of the support rib 56. FIG. 10 shows an enlarged view of the support rib 56, inner protective rib 60, and the split outer protective rib structure 62. The split outer protective rib structure 62 includes a series of ribs that are spaced apart from each other along a rear edge of the lid 20, and which are generally aligned with the hinge members 30 of the lid 20. The gasket 54 is pushed onto the support rib 56 such that when installed, the gasket 54 protrudes downwardly from the lower surface 52 of lid as shown in FIG. 11. The inner 60 and outer 62 protective ribs are positioned to prevent damage to the gasket 54.

As shown in FIGS. 12 and 14, the container 10 includes flat sealing surfaces 68 formed about an inner perimeter of the rear wall 16, side walls 18, and front wall 14. These sealing surfaces 68 seal against corresponding flat surfaces of the gasket 54, which is shown in greater detail in FIG. 13. One example extruded profile of the gasket 54 comprises a U-shaped cross-section with a base portion 70 and leg portions 72 that are spaced apart from each other by a groove 74. The groove 74 is received over the support rib 56. The outward facing surface of the base portion 70 is in direct abutting and sealing engagement with the sealing surfaces 68.

As shown in FIG. 14, the flat sealing surfaces 68 of the container are tapered to match the angle of the gasket feature 40. A rear portion 68 a of the sealing surface extends along an edge of the rear wall 16, and side portions 68 b of the sealing surface taper upwardly from the rear portion 68 a toward a front portion 68 c. The front portion 68 c extends along a front edge of the front wall 14, and due to the taper, is positioned within a plane that is vertically higher than a plane defined by the rear portion 68 a. FIG. 15 shows how the gasket 54 interfaces with the sealing surfaces 68. The lid 20 is not shown for purposes of clarity.

FIG. 16 shows an enlarged view of a bottom portion of either the rear wall 16 or front wall 14 of the container 10. This portion includes recessed areas 80 that provide clearance for stacking purposes. For example, as shown in FIG. 17, the reusable biohazard waste container 10 can sit on top of another medical waste container 82. In one example configuration, two smaller containers 10 can sit on top of one large container 82. Due to the fact that the biohazard waste containers 10 are sealed/leak-proof and capable of holding liquids, and the fact that the containers 10 include the recessed areas 80 for stacking, the ease of the transportation of these containers is significantly improved.

FIGS. 18-19 show one example of a biohazard waste container 10 that includes an additional locking feature 90. The lid 20 includes a first latch member 92 (FIG. 18) that cooperates with a second latch member 94 (FIG. 19) to securely latch the lid 20 to the container 10. In one example, the additional locking feature 90 comprises aligned openings 96 in the first 92 and second 94 latch members that allow a zip tie to be utilized if needed.

In one example shown in FIG. 20, the container 10 includes a holding feature 100 that helps hold a red bag, i.e. a standard receptacle bag as used in the medical industry for containment, in place within the container 10. In one example, the holding feature 100 comprises a flange portion 102 located at each upper corner 104 of the container 10 with a cut-outs 106 being located on opposing sides of the flange portion 102. A portion of the bag is secured under the flange portion 102 via the cut-outs 106 at each corner 104, which prevents the bag from inadvertently falling inside of the container 10.

FIGS. 21-39 show another example of a reusable biohazard waste container 200. The container 200 includes a bottom wall 212, a front wall 214, a rear wall 216, and a pair of side walls 218 that extend up from the bottom wall 212 and connect the front wall 214 to the rear wall 216 to form a box-shaped container.

A primary lid 220 is attached to the rear wall 216 at a hinged connection 222. The primary lid 220 is moveable between a closed position shown in FIGS. 21-22 to an open position such as that shown in FIG. 2. When in the open position, the lid 220 is rotated 270 degrees and hangs down vertically. A latch 226 is used to secure the lid 220 to the container 200 when in the closed position. The latch 226 and hinged connection 222 are similar to those used in the container 10 shown in FIGS. 1-20.

Further, the container 200 includes the gasket feature 40 and gasket rib structure 50 that is formed within a lower surface 52 of the primary lid 220 as shown in FIGS. 8 e and 9-11.

The container 200 includes a universal clamp or hook feature 230 (FIGS. 21 and 36-39) for automation integration. One hook feature 230 is located in the bottom wall 212 adjacent each of the side walls 218 as shown in FIG. 36. Each hook feature 230 comprises a recessed area 232 that extends inwardly into the associated side wall 218. The recessed area 232 includes a flat bottom surface portion 234 that has an opening 236 that is open through to the bottom surface of the bottom wall 212 as shown in FIGS. 37-39.

FIG. 38 shows a rotating swing clamp 238 that rotates to clamp down on the flat bottom surface portion 234 of the recessed area 232. Once clamped, an automation device associated with the rotating swing clamp 238 can then pick up and move the container 200 as needed.

FIG. 39 shows a hook member 240 that extends through the opening 236 in the recessed area 232 to catch and hold the container 200 when rotated for emptying the contents.

The container 200 also includes a plurality of nesting ribs or extension portions 242 (FIGS. 21-22) that facilitate stacking of adjacent containers. The nesting ribs or extension portions 242 are located at each corner of an upper portion of each of the front wall 214, rear wall 216, and side walls 218 to provide a total of eight extension portions 242. The extension portions 242 extend downwardly in a linear direction from the upper portion of the respective front wall 214, rear wall 216, and side walls 218 toward the bottom wall 212. The length of these extension portions 242 can be varied as needed. Further, the extension portions 242 can comprise any of various shapes that are formed as extensions of the container walls such that the extensions can be nested on corresponding nesting stop areas on an adjacent container.

As shown in FIGS. 23-24, the primary lid 220 includes a plurality of locating ribs or raised locating portions 244 formed in an upper surface of the primary lid 220 near each corner of the primary lid 220. The raised locating portions 244 are used to visually locate where stacked containers should sit. In one example, the raised locating portions 244 each have a curved profile that extends along a portion of a side edge 220 a and one of a front 220 b and rear 220 c edge of the primary lid 220. It should be understood that while the raised locating portions 244 are shown to have a rib-type structure, the raised locating portions 244 can take any of various shapes and sizes, and can be positioned at different locations on the primary lid 220 as needed.

The primary lid 220 also includes a plurality of stacking ribs or raised stacking portions 246 that facilitate locating and fixation of containers stacked on top of the primary lid 220. The raised stacking portions 246 extend upwardly from an upper surface of the primary lid 220 near each corner of the primary lid 220, and in the example shown, are spaced inwardly relative to the raised locating portions 244. In one example, the raised stacking portions 246 have a linear profile that extends generally parallel to the side edges 220 a of the primary lid 220; however, it should be understood that the raised stacking portions 246 can take any of various shapes and sizes, and can be positioned at different locations on the primary lid 220 as needed.

The primary lid 220 also includes a secondary lid 250 as best shown in FIGS. 23-24. The secondary lid 250 is a smaller lid that is pivotally attached to the primary lid 220 to provide for additional container access without having to unlatch the latch 226 of the primary lid 220. An opening 252 (FIG. 35) is formed within the primary lid 220 and a hinged connection interface 254 is formed near one edge of the opening 252 to attach the secondary lid 250 to the primary lid 220. This hinged connection interface 254 will be discussed in further detail below.

The secondary lid 250 includes a latch 256 to lock the secondary lid 250 to the primary lid 220. A grasping portion or handle 258 is formed within the secondary lid 250 to allow someone to unlatch and open the secondary lid 250 using only one hand. The handle 258 is formed as a recessed area 260 (FIG. 28) extending downwardly into the secondary lid 250 to comprise a finger receiving area. The latch 256 comprises a flexible member that is compressed by a thumb while the fingers are in the recessed area 260 to unlatch and open the secondary lid 250.

As shown in FIGS. 28-31, the latch 256 comprises a U-shaped member having a first portion 256 a extending downwardly from a front edge 250 a of the secondary lid 250. The first portion 256 a transitions into a second (base) portion 256 b, which then transitions into a third portion 256 c that extends upwardly in a direction generally common to the first portion 256 a. An open area 256 d is formed between the first 256 a and third 256 c portions. The third portion 256 c is compressed toward the first portion 256 a to unlatch the latch 256. A lock tab 256 e extends outwardly from the third portion 256 c to engage a corresponding lock member 284 (FIG. 35) in the primary lid 220 to secure the secondary lid 250 to the primary lid 220. Horizontally extending gripping ribs 256 f are also included on the third portion 256 c to facilitate grasping.

At a rear edge 250 b of the secondary lid 250, a plurality of C-shaped hinge members 262 are formed as one-piece with the lid 250. The hinge members 262 are axially spaced apart from each other along the rear edge 250 b and receive posts 264 (FIGS. 24-25) that are integral to the primary lid 220 to form the hinge connection interface 254. The primary lid 220 includes a recessed area 266 at each post 264 and hinge member 262 connection to allow the secondary lid 250 to lie flat against an upper surface of the primary lid 220 when the secondary lid 250 is open.

As shown in FIGS. 32-35, the secondary lid 250 includes a gasket rib structure 270 that is formed within a lower surface 272 of the secondary lid 250. The gasket rib structure 270 receives a gasket 274. When installed, the gasket 274 allows the container to be leak proof or leak resistant and capable of holding liquids when the secondary lid 250 is latched in the closed position on the primary lid 220. Optionally, when the container is only required to hold biohazard non-liquids, the gasket may be eliminated.

The gasket rib structure 270 includes a downwardly extending support rib 276 that extends about a perimeter of the lower surface 272 of the secondary lid 250. Open space is provided on each side of the support rib 276 such that the gasket 274 can be installed onto the secondary lid 250. An additional inner rib 278 also extends downwardly about the perimeter of the lower surface 272 of the secondary lid 250. The inner rib 278 extends downward to a further extent than the support rib 256 to help protect the gasket 274 and keep the gasket in place.

The gasket 274 comprises a U-shaped upper portion having first and second legs 274 a that are connected by a base portion 274 b. The first and second legs 274 a are separated from each other by a groove 274 c. When installing the gasket 274, the gasket 274 is pressed onto the support rib 276 such that the rib 276 is pressed into the groove 274 c with the legs 274 a being located on sides of the rib 276. The base portion 274 b further includes a bulbous seal portion 274 d that is compressible when the secondary lid 250 is closed to provide the required level of sealing.

As shown in FIG. 35, the gasket 274 will seal off against flat surfaces 280 formed around the perimeter of the opening 252 in the primary lid 220 when closed. As the secondary lid 250 is moved toward the closed position, the bulbous seal portion 274 d is compressed against the flat surfaces 280 and the latch 256 is received into a recess 282 formed within the primary lid 220 such that the lock tab 256 e grips the corresponding lock member 284 to latch the secondary lid 250 in place.

The biohazard waste containers 10, 200 provide the required amount of leak proof protection needed to properly transport the containers, and eliminates the need to double package the container for transport by enclosing it within a separate outer container. In some applications the subject container can be disposable as well as be treated as an outer container for waste that has an inner container. When used as an outer container, further sealing is not necessary.

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

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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/495.08, 220/849
International ClassificationB65D53/00, B65D25/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65F1/02, B65F1/16, B65F1/1615, B65F2001/1676, B65F2220/124, B65F1/1646
European ClassificationB65F1/16, B65F1/16E, B65F1/02, B65F1/16C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 2, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: REHRIG PACIFIC COMPANY, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MEISSEN, CYNTHIA R.;MANUEL, NATHAN;BALTZ, KYLE L.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20100729 TO 20100802;REEL/FRAME:024773/0345