US 3834528 A
A carrier-bag formed from a rectangular sheet of flexible material, e.g., plastics film, by securing two opposite edges each in pleated or bunched form, such that goods to be packed may be stacked upon the flat, empty bag and the bag opened out around the goods, and carried by handles provided towards the other pair of opposite edges.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Pickford et al.
CARRIER-BAGS Inventors: Nigel Evans Pickford; Henry Charles Deards, both of Welwyn, England Assignee: British Visqueen Limited, London,
England Filed: Feb. 22, 1972 Appl. N0.: 227,807
Foreign Application Priority Data Mar. 5, 1971 Great Britain 6108/71 Apr. 30. 1971 Great Britain 12342/71 June 10, 1971 Great Britain 19891/71 US. Cl. 206/526, ISO/1.7, 229/54 R, 229/55, 229/D1G. 3
Int. Cl... B65d 85/00, B65d 33/02, B65d 33/08 Field of Search 150/1, 1.7; 229/53, DIG. 3, 229/54 R, 55; 206/46 R References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1923 Deiss ..229/55 2/1942 Ferrante ..229/55 1451 Sept. 10, 1974 3,156,166 11/1964 Davis 229/54 R X 3,240,420 3/1966 Membrino. 229/54 R 3,361,334 1/1968 Terzuoli... 229/53 3,422,867 1/1969 Wu..... 150/] 3,514,033 5/1970 Goodwin 229/54 R.
Primary Examiner-William 1. Price Assistant Examiner-Stephen P. Garbe Attorney, Agent, or FirmCushman, Darby & Cushman  ABSTRACT A carrier-bag formed from a rectangular sheet of flexible material, e.g., plastics film, by securing two opposite edges each in pleated or bunched form, such that goods to be packed may be stacked upon the flat, empty bag and the bag opened out around the goods, and carried by handles provided towards the other pair of opposite edges.
9 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PAIENTED SEPI 01914 SHEET 1 BF 4 FIG.3
PAIENIE SEP] 0 m4 SHEET & UF 4 CARRIER-BAGS This invention relates to carrier-bags.
The invention relates more particularly to carrierbags suitable for use in supermarkets and in other situations in which a number of packages of various weights and sizes are normally packed in a basket, bag or other container for removal by the customer. In such situations it is well known that the speed at which the goods can be removed by the customer is often considerably less than the speed at which they can be dealt with by the checker. This can result in harassment of the customer, and in increased costs through the delaying of the checker or through providing an assistant to help the customer to pack up and remove the goods.
The present invention provides a carrier-bag particularly suitable for use in such situations. It further provides a method of packaging in which such a bag is used.
In accordance with the present invention, a carrier bag comprises a substantially rectangular sheet of flexible material pleated or bunched along two opposite sides and secured at each said side in the pleated or bunched form, and provided towards each of the other two sides with a handle by which the bag may be carried, said bag when empty being capable of lying substantially flat upon a supporting surface, with its mouth in a plane parallel with the supporting surface, so that goods to be packed may be placed or stacked upon the substantially flat bag and the bag subsequently opened out around the goods.
By the term substantially flat we mean that the bag layers lie against one another and against the supporting surface except as they may be prevented from doing so by the presence of pleats or bunching and by resilience in the sheet material.
In accordance with a further feature of the present invention a method of packaging comprises placing an article or articles to be packed upon a bag as described, the bag being empty and collapsed upon a supporting surface, and opening out the bag around the article or articles. The method is especially useful for packaging a number of articles, in which case the articles may be stacked upon the empty bag and the bag opened out around the stack, progressively as it is formed or finally around the completed stack.
The bag is preferably formed from an integral sheet of the flexible material, but the sheet may be formed from two or more joined pieces if desired. Reinforcements may be joined to the sheet as may be required,
especially in the region of the handles or at the pleated or bunched sides of the sheet.
It is generally preferred to use a plastics film as the flexible sheet material; films of olefine polymers, particularly of polyethylene, polypropylene, or copolymers of ethylene orpropylene with each other, with other olefines or with other ethylenically unsaturated monomers, are especially suitable,.as is film of polyvinyl chloride. However, other sheet packaging materials, such as high-strength paper or woven fabric, may be used instead.
In one preferred form, the carrier-bag of the present invention comprises, in its flattened, empty state: a substantially rectangular back panel; two front panels lying upon the back panel, each joined along one edge to one of a pair of opposite edges of the back panel, and each front panel extending at least a part but not substantially more than half of the distance between said opposite edges; an extension of the edge of each front panel opposite the said joined edge, each extension being backwardly folded upon the front panel to cover at least a portion of the width thereof; a handle in or attached to each said extension; and seams extending along each of the two remaining edges of the back panel, joining together these edges of the back panel and the corresponding side edges of the front panels and extensions thereof.
The bag is preferably formed from a continuous sheet, the front panels being joined to the back panels, and the extensions joined to the front panels, by substantially parallel folds. However, the panels and extensions may be joined at these fold lines by seams if desired. The front panels preferably each extend substantially half-way across the back panel; they may overlap one another a little if desired. Advantageously, additional folds and layers may be provided in the extensions of the front panels, and the extensions together are preferably substantially co-extensive with the back panel; they may overlap one another a little if desired. A particularly useful function of additional folds and layers included in the extensions is to provide reinforcement in the handle regions.
Examples of such a preferred form of the carrier-bag of the invention will now be more particularly described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 11 of the accompanying drawings, which show bags made from plastics film, with all seams formed by heat-sealing.
FIGS. 1, 3 and 5 show alternative forms of the bag, in front perspective;
FIGS. 2, 4 and 6 are cross-sections through A-A of the bags shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, respectively, with the plastics layers much enlarged in thickness;
FIG. 7 shows one preferred form of hand-hole for the FIG. 8 shows in cross-section a support for the bag during filling;
FIGS. 9, l0 and 11, show, in use, a bag of the type shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.
FIG. 12 is a diagrammatic side view in perspective of one form of bag; and
FIG. 13 shows in more detail an alternative form of handle for the bag.
In FIGS. 1 to 6: 1 represents the back panel, 2 a front panel, and 3 the extension of a front panel of a bag; 4 is a fold connecting the back panel to a front panel, and 5 a fold connecting a front panel to a front panel extension; 6 is a heat-seal joining together side edges of the back panel, the front panels and the front panel extensions; and 7 is a hand-hold cut in an extension of a front panel, to provide a handle for the bag. Any one of the bags illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6 may be provided with a reinforcing panel, as shown at la in FIG. 6 coextensive with the back panel, lying against the outer surface thereof, and joined into the heat-seals, 6. The function of this reinforcing panel will be described hereinafter. At 11 is shown, in each of FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, a strip of self-adhesive tape applied as reinforcement along each seamed edge of the bag across the meeting points of the front panel extensions.
In the bag shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 the front panel extensions, 3, are both provided with a fold, each being turned back upon itself to form a second layer, 8, which covers the first layer of the front panel extension, having its free edge, 9, close to. the fold 5. This double thickness in the front panel extension gives much improved strength to the handles, 7, which are cut in the underlying layer of the extension only. Bags of the type illustrated by FIGS. 3 and 4, especially with a simple slit handle, as shown, have many advantages and are considered to be, for most purposes, the best design for the bag of the invention. Such a bag may be picked up at each side by passing the fingers through the cut handle 7 and out at the centre opening of the bag, between the edges 9, and gathering up the whole width of the layer 8, together with the outer portion of layer 3 beyond the handle slit, into the hand. This provides a particularly strong and comfortable hold when the bag is full and heavy. The simple slit handles are easily made, and, needing no added reinforcement, they are economical. Moreover, the upper layer 8 of the front panel extension, which preferably extends back to the fold 4, presents a wide area of film that has to be destroyed, under strain, before the handle itself is destroyed; generally it is found that the handle, while stretching to a pearshaped form into this area under strain, increases in strength and will resist complete destruction under very heavy load. Although the slit handle is generally preferred, cut-out handles of other shape may be provided if desired.
An alternative method of providing built-in reinforcement of the bag, and avoiding the costs of added reinforcement, is illustrated by FIGS. and 6. The front panel extensions are again further extended, but in this case the end of the extension is folded into several layers, at 10 (four layers in the embodiment shown in these figures). The top of the handle, which is vertically located in use, will then lie just below these layers, and this provides a considerable reinforcement in the handle. The handles are also more comfortably held when the bag is loaded. A reasonably strong handle may also be provided, without added reinforcement, by folding the bag layers as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 but cutting the slit handles through both layers of the front panel extension. Such a bag is somewhat easier to pick up than is the bag shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, but otherwise gives little advantage. It can, however, bear fairly heavy loads before the handles fail.
For particular reasons or purposes, bags of a design other than those illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 6 may be required, such as that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and these will often need added reinforcement in the handle area. A well-known type of reinforcement is a patch of flexible material adhered to the bag walls in the handle area, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the slit being cut through both the reinforcing strip and the bag wall. A modification of this method of reinforcement, providing particularly strong slit handles, is illustrated by FIG. 7. In this Figure, 11a is again a patch of adhesive tape serving as a-reinforcement around the handle, the handle being cut through the reinforcement and the underlying plastics film. 12 are slits, of width increasing with their distance from the cut handle, also cut through the reinforcement and through the film. It is found that such slits, two or more in number, serve to distribute the strains, so that breakage of the film, which generally occurs immediately below the lower edge of the reinforcement when the bag is holding an excessive load, occurs only at much higher load than with the unmodified reinforced handle. The slits may be replaced by circular or oval perforations, of increasing width, to give a similar effect.
As previously indicated, the bag is capable of being loaded by placing it upon a flat surface and stacking the goods to be packed upon it. However, the bag need not necessarily be loaded against a flat surface; for example the supporting surface may follow a shallow, concave curve, or may be of other configuration provided that the goods to be packed may be stacked upon it. Preferably, the bag is placed for the loading operation in a shallow loading cavity, preferably substantially rectangular and having at its base dimensions somewhat less than the corresponding dimensions of the bag, particularly in the direction from seam to seam of the bag, so that these ends of the bag may initially be turned up to lie against the walls of the cavity. This serves to prevent goods from being placed on or beyond at least the end edges of the bag, and will direct settling goods into the mouth of the bag, or assist in the opening-out of the bag. The cavity preferably has a flat bottom, so that the first articles loaded may stand stably on the bag, and sloping sides.
FIG. 8 shows in cross-section such a cavity in the working surface of a support upon which a bag of the invention may be loaded. 13 is the support, 14 the flat base of the depression, and 15 one of the four sloping sides. Although the width and length of the base are ideally somewhat less than the width and length of the bag intended for use, the same loading cavity can be used quite satisfactorily for bags over a range of sizes, including bags of widths less than the base of the cavity, provided'that the length of the bags (that is, in the direction from seam to seam) is always greater than that of the base of the cavity. Generally, a cavity size of about 22 X 17 inches X 43 cms) with a depth of about 3% inches (8.2 cms) will be suitable for the useful range of bag sizes. The cavity may alternatively be formed as a concave cavity with curved surfaces, following, for example, a concave curve in all directions, but a flat-bottomed cavity will usually be preferred. The surface of the cavity is preferably formed of a hard but resilient material, such as rigid polyvinyl chloride or thin sheet steel.
The bag as shown in FIGS. 1 to 6, when brought into use, is placed unopened in the loading cavity with its back panel, 1, facing either upwards or downwards, and the goods to be packedare placed or stacked upon the centre part of the bag. Usually, the bag will be placed with its back panel facing downwards. The handles of the bag are then grasped from beneath the sides of the stack of goods and drawn outwards, the centre folds of the bag so being drawn apart from one another; the bag will then progressively open out around the stack of goods. Alternatively the bag may be placed with its back panel facing upwards, the goods stacked upon it, the handles drawn out from below the bag, and the bag progressively opened out around the stack, whilst turning inside-out readily and without difficulty and with practically no disturbance of the stack. The second method, starting with the bottom panel facing upwards, has certain advantages. The stack of goods is less likely to be disturbed, since the goods remain standing on the bottom panel, and the front panel extensions are not exposed to the danger of snagging by being pulled out in Contact with the goods, should the goods have particularly sharp edges or corners. It has however the disadvantage that the bags are most easily printed on the surfaces that are initially the outer surfaces, so printed bags that are to be turned inside-out must usually either be transparent or be made opaque by continuous printing. Since it is generally important to the seller that the bag be printed and that it be cheap, and important to the customer that it be opaque, these are usually, the overriding considerations; thus the bag will usually be of opaque film, printed on the outside, and intended to be filled without reversal, by placing it with the bottom panel downwards. For some applications, such as in the packaging of pot plants, where absence of disturbance of the goods and transparency of the film are important advantages, or for the packaging of sharp objects that might tear the film, the reversing method may be preferred.
In a preferred method of loading the bag the checker, as she records the price of each item, places it on the flat surface of the bag; or, each item may be received by the customer from the checker, and placed on the bag. Once a sufficient number of goods have been placed to provide a base for the load of goods, the sides of the bag are pulled out by the handles, either by the checker or by the customer. From this point on, loading proceeds most smoothly if the sides of the bag are held open by the customer. The task of packing the bag may then continue at virtually the same speed as the checker can operate the register. When all the purchases have been loaded, the shopper lifts the filled bag and carries it away, generally suspending it from one hand or hanging it over a forearm.
FIGS. 9, and 11 show stages in the loading of a bag, which is a bag of the type shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The unopened bag is placed as shown in FIG. 9 with the back panel, 1, downwards or uppermost, as may be required, with one handle at each side of the flat base, 14, of the cavity, and with its side seams, 6, lying against, or projecting above, its walls. The bottom layer of goods, 16, to be packed are placed upon the bag in the cavity; the bag is then picked up by its handles, 7, as shown in FIG. 10 (the handles being drawn out from beneath the edges of the stack of goods, or beneath the edges of the loaded back panel according to the arrangement of the bag in the cavity) and the bag is progressively opened out around the growing stack of goods. When the bag has been placed with its bottom panel uppermost, it will turn inside-out as it opens. Finally, the handles are brought together, and the filled bag may be lifted and removed from the support, as shown in FIG. 11 (which shows the bag in the insideout condition).
When the bag is to be placed for loading with the bottom panel facing upwards, the base of the bag may advantageously be reinforced by the addition of a layer of the plastics film or other material, coextensive with the back panel, facing that surface of the back panel which is initially the outer surface, and seamed at its edges into the side seams of the bag. On reversal of the bag, this reinforcement forms a strengthening sling across the inside of the bottom of the bag. This can minimise any risk of perforation of the back panel by angular goods, and the reinforcement is provided at less cost than would arise from an overall increase in film thickness. Some reinforcement may be provided by such an additional panel when the bag is to be opened without reversal, but this is less effective than when the bag is turned inside-out during opening. Of course, such a panel could be provided initially against the inner surface of the back panel, to reinforce the base of the bag when it is to be used without reversal; but this would be much more difficult in the manufacture of the bags.
The dimensions of the bag are preferably such that, when the bag is in its folded unopened form, the side seams are along the shorter sides of the rectangular back panel, this being of a shape other than square. This arrangement results in less strain being imposed on the handles in the loaded bag, than if the dimensions were reversed and the side seams formed the longer sides of the rectangle. The difference may be quite small; for example, it is quite sufficient for the larger dimension to exceed the smaller by about one tenth of the smaller dimension. The optimum dimensions for such a bag will generally lie between 14 inches and 21 inches (365 and 540 mm) for the shorter sides, and between 22 inches and 27 inches (560 mm and 690 mm) for the longer sides. Such bags will be large enough to be easily loaded, but generally not so large as to contain a load too heavy for the bag to be readily carried. Such bags may have, for example, slit handles about 4% inches (125 mm) to 6 inches (150 mm) long.
The front panel extensions preferably have their free edges or a fold substantially level with the fold between the front and back panels, as shown in the drawings,
since this gives a good distribution of strain without wastage of the plastics film.
Many modifications may be made in the bags illustrated by FIGS. 1 to 11. For example, as previously indicated, the front panels and extensions may overlap somewhat at the centre of the bag, to provide some mutual reinforcement at this position; or reinforcement in the fonn of adhered strips may be secured along each seamed edge of the bag, across any exposed folds or edges of the front panels or front panel extensions that face towards the centre of the flattened bag. Such reinforcement is illustrated at 11 in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5. A strip of adhesive tape is particularly suitable for this purpose, since' it will act as a shock absorber for strains at these points; it may separate slightly from the film under heavy strain, but will still protect the film in this area against tearing. The tape will preferably be of the same plastics film as the bag, or of film of a compatible plastics material, so that it may be joined by heatsealing into the side seal of the bag. Another method of reinforcement consists in attaching an adhesive tape along the whole length of each side seal of the bag. Such tapes may also be used to provide printed identification or advertising matter. Generally however, it is more economical and quite satisfactory to provide only the shorter reinforcements of adhesive tape.
Other forms of handle may be provided. For exam- I ple, strip loop handles may be attached to the front panel extensions, or horizontal cut-out or slit handles may be provided. Generally, vertical slit handles are preferred, since these allow the strains to be well dis tributed. The aperture forming the bag mouth may i if desired be off-set a little from the centre line across the bag. This expedient may sometimes be used to assist in the formation of strong seams by avoiding sudden changes in the number of layers included in the seams. For example, in the bags shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the position at which the edges, 9, of the front panel extensions meet may be spaced to one side of the centre line of the bag, so that these edges do not lie directly over the folds, 5, between the front panels and front panel extensions; each edge will then become sealed to three continuous layers of film beneath it.
The geometry of the bags, and the consequent distribution of the strains, is such that the bags may be made of relatively thin material to support a large load. For example, a bag having a size, when lying flat, of about 22 inches X 25 inches, (56 cm X 64 cm), suitable for carrying a typical load from a supermarket trolley, may be made of 150 gauge low-density polyethylene film (that is, 38 mu thick film). Obviously, the minimum permissible thickness will depend upon the strength of the film and the ease with which it may be heat sealed. We have found that the load is spread over the surface area of the bag to such an extent that the strain per unit area is very low. The result is that, not only will the bag take a very high load, but it will accept a surprisingly large amount of damage, by snagging for example, without total failure.
The bags of the type illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6, when made of plastics, may be manufactured at high production rates by forming suitable folds in a continuously advancing web (together with an underlying strip for forming a reinforcement for the back panel if desired) and transversely heat-sealing and severing the web at intervals of one bag dimension. The web may be transversely sealed by wide or double seals formed between sealing jaws applying heat and pressure, these seals being divided along their length to separate the bags one from the next, either by complete severence or by lines of weakening along which the bags may subsequently be separated by tearing. Alternatively, the bags may be simultaneously sealed and severed by means of a continuously or intermittently heated metal tape or wire, or a heated metal blade. When reinforcing strips are provided as shown at 11 in the drawings, these may be applied to the web in advance of the transverse heatsealing step. Preferably, the strips of tape are sufficiently wide to provide the reinforcement for one side of two adjacent bags, and are heat-sealed to the web during the heat-sealing step, and are longitudinally divided when the seals are divided along their length. The handles may be cut in, or attached to, the web at a convenient stage, before, during or after the folding of the web.
When the bags are made of paper or fabric, they may be similarly made from sections cut from a suitably folded, continuously advancing web, which may be severed into bag units and the severed edges seamed together by an appropriate method. Or the bags may be folded from separate pieces of the sheet material and similarly seamed along the free edges.
In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, the carrier-bag, again formed from a substantially rectangular sheet of material, has one pair of opposite side edges of the sheet each pleated or bunched together so as to bring the sheet essentially to the form of a wide hammock, these edges being secured in such pleated or bunched form, and handles cut in or attached to the other pair of opposite sides.
In such a bag, the first pair of opposite side edges are preferably each pleated by folding the entire sheet into bellows folds at right angles to these edges, and fastening the pleats together at their ends by any suitable means, for example by heat-sealing, or by a ligature or staple. As with the bag previously described and illustrated, this bag when in use may be laid substantially flat on the supporting surface, but with its free edges drawn apart. It may similarly be placed in a loading cavity, preferably with at least its pleated or bunched ends initially extending beyond the sides of the cavity. The goods to be packed may then be stacked on the bag, within the separated edges thereof, and the sides of the bag drawn up by the handles around the stacked goods, progressively as the stack is formed, or finally around the completed stack.
Preferred forms of such a bag of the invention will now be more particularly described by way of example with reference to FIGS. 12 and 13 of the accompanying drawings, of which:
In FIG. 12, 17 is the body of the bag, which has been formed by folding a rectangular sheet of, for example, polyethylene film. In folding, the two shorter side edges have first been inwardly folded to provide a 2-layer region of depth sufficient to accommodate a cut handle, 18, through both layers, on each side of the bag. The sheet, from one side fold to the other, has then been folded into bellows pleats, to form a relatively narrow, multi-layer strip, and each end thereof tightly encircled by a wire ligature, 19. The outermost folds, 20, smaller than the folds across the width of the bag, have been made in the 2-layer edge region to provide further reinforcement for the cut handles. The edge of a folded-in portion that provides the 2-layer region for a handle is shown at 21. The flaps of the handles are folded back through the cut aperture when the bag is held in the hand, providing greater comfort in holding.
In one particular example, a bag as shown in the drawing is formed from a 48 X 24 inch (122 cm X 61 cm) rectangular sheet of gauge (that is, 38 mp. thick) polyethylene film, with the longer side edges folded over to a depth of 3 /2 inches (89 mm). The bellows pleats are approximately 2% inches (64 mm) in depth, except for the outermost pleats, each of which is about 1 inch 19 mm) deep, and each of which faces outwardly.
In FIG. 13: I7 is the body of the bag; 22 is the final fold, at one side of the bag, of the bellows pleating; 23 is a reinforcing band, of the same plastics film as the bag, sealed to the second pleat and extending across the whole width of the bag and into the ligatured ends; and 24 is a slit cut through the wall of the bag, at right angles to the pleats, to form a handle for the bag.
Various modifications may be made in the bag just I described. As previously mentioned, the fastened edges of the bag may be merely bunched together instead of being pleated, and other means may be used for fastening the ends in the bunched or pleated form. For example, when the bag is pleated the pleats may be kept flat at their ends, lying one upon another, and sealed or stapled together in this position. Other types of handle may be provided, but it is generally preferred, at least in bags made of plastics film or paper, that the handles be made in, or associated with, double or multiple layers of the edge region of the bag, or that other means of reinforcement be provided. Many types of reinforcement for bag handles are well known in the art, from which suitable forms of reinforcement may be selected for the handles of these bags. They include, for example, patches adhered to the bag walls in the areas in which the handle is to be cut or to which it will be fastened, and strengthening strips enclosed within a hem along the edges of the bag mouth, which may be provided by an outermost fold in the sheet.
Film of low-density polyethylene is a particularly preferred material for making any of the carrier-bags of the invention, since it has adequate strength, is inexpensive and may be very easily heat-sealed. The use of bags made from this film is thus economic, even for large bags, particularly having regard to the saving of labour in packaging that results from the use of such bags.
While plastics film is in many respects the preferred material for making the bags of this invention, plastics sheet material of other types, or sheet packaging materials other than plastics materials, may be used. For example, the bag may be made of fabric woven from plas' tics tapes, or of bonded fabric made from plastics fibres. Or it may be made of paper, especially extensible kraft paper or any strong-grade paper, or of fabric woven from textiles or formed by bonding textile fibres. Conventional methods of joining these materials may be used for forming the seams, such as stitching or the use of adhesives, for example, and the handles may be constructed, and reinforced as may be required, in similar manner to those of carrier-bags of previously known types when made of these materials. Except that bags of some types of strong-grade paper will not be suitable for reversal, the bags may be used in the manner described with particular reference to plastics bags.
Although the sheet from which the bag of this invention is made has been described as substantially rectangular, it may depart from the shape of a rectangle provided that this does not prevent one pair of edges from being pleated or bunched and secured in such form, or the provision of handles in or attached to the other two sides.
As previously indicated, the bag is especially suitable for use at check-out points in supermarkets; but it may be used with advantage in any situation where there may be difficulty in loading the bag, and especially where both hands are required for manipulating the goods to be packed. It is generally most useful for packing a number of articles together, but it can of course be used for packing single articles, particularly when, for special reasons such as fragility of the article, handling of the article needs to be avoided as far as possible. For the supermarket, the bag will generally be a single-use commodity; but it has been found that the saving of time and effort in loading the goods at the check-out point more than compensates for the cost of the bags, as well as improving relations with the customer. For the customer the bag has the further advantage that it has many after use applications. For example, it may be used as a beach bag, a waste holder, a laundry bag, a bag for carrying plants, or a fruit-picking bag.
We claim: 1. A carrier-bag of flexible sheet material formed from a substantially rectangular sheet of said material by folding and seaming, the bag comprising in its flattened, empty state: A substantially rectangular back panel; two front panels lying upon the back panel, each 5 joined along one edge to one of a pair of opposite edges of the back panel, and each front panel extending at least a part but not substantially more than half of the distance between said opposite edges; an extension of the edge of each front panel opposite the said joined edge, each extension being backwardly folded upon the front panel to cover at least a portion of the depth thereof; a handle in or attached to each said extension; and seams extending along each of the two remaining edges of the back panel, said seams joining together these edges of the back panel and the corresponding side edges of the front panels and extensions thereof, the remaining edges and folds extending between said seams and being free across substantially their whole length.
2. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1, formed from an integral sheet of the flexible material.
3. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1 made of plastics film.
4. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1 in which the front panels each extend substantially half-way across the back panel and each front panel extension is provided with at least one further fold, providing at least a second layer which at least partially covers the first layer of the front panel extension.
5. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 4 having slit handles in the front panel extensions, each handle being formed by cutting through at least said first layer of the front panel extension, and the slit being parallel with the seams joining the side edges of the back panel, front panels and front panel extensions.
6. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1 having dimensions such that, when the bag is in its flat, unopened form, the seams are along the shorter sides of the rectangular back panel, this being of a shape other than square. v
7. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1 in which the base of the bag is reinforced by the addition of a layer of flexible sheet material, coextensive with the back panel, facing the outer surface of the back panel, and seamed at its side edges into the side seams of the bag.
8. A carrier-bag as claimed in claim 1 in which a reinforcing strip is secured along each seamed edge of the bag, across the meeting points of the front panel extensions.
9. A package comprising a bag as claimed in claim 1 and at least one article contained therein.