Apparatus for separating and accumulating matters

There is provided an apparatus for separating and accumulating different matters, the apparatus comprising or being adapted to receive at least a first and a second receptacle, and comprising an opening and a movable element splitting the opening area into a plurality of areas to define a first inlet associated with the first receptacle and a second inlet associated with the second receptacle. The moving element can be moved in one direction to enlarge the first inlet while reducing the second inlet and moved in the opposite direction to enlarge the second inlet while reducing the first inlet.

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Description

The present invention claims priority of provisional patent application US 61/064,918 entirely incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The present invention generally relates to apparatuses for separating and accumulating objects or matters such as wastes discarded in a container such as a garbage can, and more specifically to an apparatus allowing different types of matters to be accumulated in separate receptacles, each receptacle having an adjustable size inlet in communication with a common opening. At least some of the receptacles may be integrally collapsible receptacles such as bags to enable different types of matters to be accumulated separately in variable proportions in a definite volume.

BACKGROUND

It is well known that there is an increasing need for separating wastes by types for purposes of recuperation and valorization. For example, it is often required to separate matters to be recycled by types such as glass, plastic and paper, and/or to separate household wastes to be discarded from organic wastes that can be reduced to compost and from recyclable matters. Therefore, multiple containers or multiple compartment containers must be used to accumulate such matters separately until they are collected or used. However, grouping many receptacles into a definite space raises the problem of splitting the opening area into a plurality of definite smaller inlets thus complicating the task of inserting matters into a given receptacle. Moreover, since the relative proportions of the different matters being accumulated can hardly be predicted, using rigid fixed volume receptacles or compartments may not enable optimal use of the usually limited storage space available.

It would therefore be a significant advance in the art of partitioned storage containers to provide an apparatus wherein a plurality of receptacles are provided with adjustable size inlet and at least some of the receptacle may be collapsible to separately accumulate different matters in variable unknown proportions in a definite volume.

SUMMARY

As broadly claimed, the present invention provides an apparatus which enables separate accumulation of a plurality of different matters, the apparatus being adapted to receive a plurality of receptacles and comprising an opening for accessing to an inlet of each of said plurality of receptacles and at least one movable element for enlarging an inlet of a first receptacle while reducing an inlet of at least one second receptacle, whereby matters can be introduced into the first receptacle through the opening. According to an aspect of the invention, at least one of the receptacles may be collapsible. According to a further aspect of the invention, the at least one movable element is connected to at least two of the receptacles.

More specifically, in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters, the apparatus comprising at least a first and a second receptacle, an opening and a movable element splitting the opening area into a plurality of areas to define a first inlet associated with the first receptacle and a second inlet associated with the second receptacle, whereby the moving element is movable in one direction to enlarge the first inlet while reducing the second inlet and movable in the opposite direction to enlarge the second inlet while reducing the first inlet. According to an aspect of the invention, at least one of said first and second receptacles may comprise a collapsible receptacle.

According to another aspect of the invention, the movable element may be connected to the first and second receptacles.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the movable element may comprise a sliding member or may comprise a pivoting flap.

According to further aspects of the invention, the first and second receptacles may comprise at least one collapsible portion and the movable element may be connected to portions of both receptacles or to a collapsible portion of at least one of the first and second receptacles.

According to another aspect of the invention, the first receptacle and the second receptacle may comprise a removable flexible bag.

According to still another of the invention, at least one receptacle may be removable.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the moving element may be movable between a position wherein the first inlet is larger than the second inlet and a position wherein the second inlet is larger than the first inlet.

According to a still further aspect of the invention, the moving element may be mounted to and slidably movable on a guiding member at the periphery of the opening.

According to an aspect of the invention, the apparatus may further comprise a rigid enclosure defining the opening and containing the two flexible receptacles.

According to a further illustrative embodiment of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters and adapted to receive a first and a second collapsible receptacles, said apparatus comprising i) a ring defining a peripheral member and a center opening and ii) a movable element mounted to said peripheral member and movable thereabout, said movable element comprising connecting means to attach portions of the first and second receptacles thereto and being movable between a first position wherein an inlet of the first receptacle is larger than an inlet of the second receptacle and a second position wherein the inlet of the second receptacle is larger than the inlet of the first receptacle.

According to another aspect of the invention, the apparatus may further comprise a rigid enclosure for receiving the collapsible receptacles and the ring member may be mountable on top of said rigid enclosure.

According to still another aspect of the invention, the enclosure may comprise a top portion comprising the ring.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the connecting means may comprise a receptacle clamping device and the movable element may be slidebly movable along said peripheral member between the first position and the second position.

According to a still further aspect of the invention, the peripheral member and the opening may be generally rectangular, and the movable element may extend across the opening and be slidebly movable on opposite portions of said peripheral member between the first position and the second position.

According to a further illustrative embodiment of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters, said apparatus comprising a rigid enclosure defining an opening and adapted to receive a first and a second collapsible receptacles, a cover adapted to be mounted on the enclosure to close the opening, the cover defining a peripheral member and comprising a lid pivotally and slidebly connected to the peripheral member to provide access to the opening, the lid comprising means for attaching portions of the first and second receptacles thereto, whereby sliding the lid with respect to the peripheral member increases the size of an inlet of the first receptacle while decreasing the size of an inlet of the second receptacle.

According to another aspect of the invention, each receptacle may comprise a flexible bag, the means for attaching may comprise at least one clamping device for removably attaching a portion of each receptacle to the lid, and the lid may be slidable on opposite portions of the peripheral member between a first position wherein most of the opening area provides access to the inlet of the first receptacle and a second position wherein most of the opening area provides access to the inlet of the second receptacle.

It will be appreciated that the illustrative embodiments of the present invention generally advantageously provide controlled access to multiple receptacles accessible through a common opening by enabling modifying at will the area of the opening associated with an inlet of a receptacle. Thereby, matters dropped at a given location of the opening can be manually or automatically directed into a receptacle or an other, and the inlet of a given receptacle can temporarily be made larger than that of at least one other receptacle in order to facilitate access. Furthermore the invention may advantageously enable accumulation variable proportions of matters of different types in separate receptacles in a rigid enclosure with optimal use of the total accumulation volume available.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further aspects and advantages of the illustrative embodiments of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the description in association with the following figures. Note that similar numerals represent similar parts throughout figures and that objects in phantom lines are for illustrative purpose only and are not part of the invention per se.

FIG. 1a is a front right isometric elevational view of a dual bag separating apparatus according to an embodiment of the apparatus of the invention.

FIG. 1b is a top plan view of the dual bag apparatus of FIG. 1a shown in a first position wherein the inlet of a first bag is substantially open and the inlet of the second bag is substantially closed;

FIG. 1c is a top plan view of the dual bag apparatus of FIG. 1a, shown in a position wherein both bag inlets are approximately half open.

FIG. 2a is a top isometric view of a matter separating and accumulating apparatus, according to an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, comprising a rectangular opening enclosure and a sliding partitioning element;

FIG. 2b is a top isometric view of a matter separating and accumulating apparatus, according to an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, comprising a circular opening enclosure and a sliding partitioning element;

FIG. 3a is a top front isometric view of a matter separating and accumulating apparatus, according to an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, comprising a cover shown with a lid in a closed position;

FIG. 3b is top front isometric view of the apparatus of FIG. 3a, shown with the lid open in a front bag filling position;

FIG. 3c is a top front isometric view of the apparatus of FIG. 3a, shown with the lid open and sled forward in a back bag filling position;

FIG. 3d is a top front view of the apparatus of FIG. 3c, shown with the lid tilted upwardly, still in a back bag filling position;

FIG. 3e is a close up view of the top portion of the apparatus of FIG. 3b to show details of the cover and lid assembly;

FIG. 4a is a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 3a, shown with the lid sled in an intermediate position;

FIG. 4b is a side cross sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 4a, as seen from line A-A;

FIG. 5a is a schematic side cross sectional view top a matter separating and accumulating apparatus, according to a further illustrative embodiment of the present invention, comprising rigid receptacles and a pivoting flap element to adjust inlets thereof;

FIG. 5b is a schematic side cross sectional view top a matter separating and accumulating apparatus, according to a still further illustrative embodiment of the present invention, comprising a pivoting and sliding flap element connected to collapsible receptacles to adjust inlets thereof;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Although the present invention will be described with reference to illustrative embodiments thereof, persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the concepts may as well be implemented according to different geometric shapes or proportions or by replacing elements by technical substitutes with equivalent benefits, without departing from the spirit of the invention as broadly claimed.

Referring to FIGS. 1a-c, an apparatus 1 for separating and accumulating different matters is adapted to receive a first collapsible receptacle (e.g. bag) B1 and a second collapsible receptacle (bag) B2. The apparatus comprises a ring 2 defining an inner opening 3 and a peripheral member 4 to which a connecting means 5 comprising bag clamping devices 6a, 6b is fixedly assembled. A moving element 7 is adapted to slide along the peripheral member 4 and comprises bag clamping devices 8a and 8b. The ring 2 can be supported on top of a rigid enclosure (not shown) to receive the bags B1 and B2 therein, or positioned above such a rigid enclosure while being supported on supporting legs 9 as illustrated or may be used without cooperation with any enclosure.

In use, portions of the opening edge of bag B1 is attached to clamping devices 6a and 8a and reciprocally portions of the opening edge of bag B2 is attached to clamping devices 6b and 8b, the rest of the bags being distributed inside the opening 3 and over the peripheral member 4 as illustrated. Proper installation of the bags B1 and B2 will enable configuring the apparatus 1 in the configuration shown in FIG. 1b wherein the moving element 7 is in a first position to adjust an inlet B1′ of bag B1 in a wide open position while an inlet B2′ of bag B2 is substantially closed, or in the configuration shown in FIG. 1c wherein the moving element 7 has been sled into a second position to reduce the inlet B1′ and enlarge the inlet B2′, or in any intermediate configuration. Sliding the moving element 7 clockwise or counterclockwise on the on the peripheral member 4 of ring 2 changes the ratio inlets B1′ and B2′ occupy within the area of opening 3. Thereby, proper configuration of the apparatus 1 may be selected according to which of the bags is selected to accumulate a given type of matters at a given time.

Turning now to FIGS. 2a and 2b, alternate embodiments of the invention will now be described. In the embodiment of FIG. 2a, the apparatus 1 comprises a rigid enclosure 21 for receiving two collapsible receptacles such as flexible bags (not illustrated). The top portion of the enclosure 21 defines a ring 22 defining an opening 23 and comprising a rectangular peripheral member 24 having two opposite side portions 25, 26 to which a movable element 27 is slidebly assembled. The moving element 27 comprises pairs of bag clamping devices such as 28a, 28b and 28c, 28d at both ends thereof. The moving element can be moved along side portions 25, 26 from front to back of the enclosure 21 using an handle such as 29 and a stop member 20 may be added to hit the front or back surfaces of the enclosure 21 so to prevent the moving element from slipping out engagement with the rails defined by portions 25, 26 when approaching either ends thereof.

As for the embodiment of FIG. 1, portions of the opening end of a first (front) bag can be attached to clamping devices 28a and 28c and folded over the front portion of the peripheral member 24 and over side portions 25, 26 in front of the moving element 27. Reciprocally, a second (back) bag can be similarly attached behind the first bag using clamping devices 28b and 28d. Thereby, in use, sliding the moving element 27 from front to back and vice versa changes the ratio inlets of the front bag and back bag occupy within the area of opening 23. Therefore, it is made easy to adjust the front bag's inlet wider up to near the full area of the opening 23 to drop a first type of matter in that bag or adjust the back bag's inlet wider to drop a second type of matters therein.

FIG. 2b illustrates a similar embodiment to that of FIG. 2a, wherein the enclosure 21′ has a circular configuration and the moving member 27′ is articulated having one end sliding on a portion of the peripheral member 24′ and one end fixedly connected to an opposite portion of said peripheral member. Thereby, the area of opening 23 can be split into a first bag inlet zone and a second bag inlet zone with a variable ratio.

A still further embodiment of the invention will now be described in connection with FIGS. 3a-3e and 4a-4b.

In this embodiment the apparatus 1 comprises a cover 30 to close an opening 33 of a rigid enclosure 31 adapted to receive a pair of collapsible receptacles such as front bag B1 and back bag B2 (see FIG. 4b). The cover 30 comprises a peripheral member 34 and a lid 37 pivotally and slidebly movable about said peripheral member. Lid 37 comprises two end pins 35 adapted to snugly fit into guiding rails 36 and 36′ respectively so to enable lid 37 to pivot in an open or closed position and slide between a front portion and a back portion of member 34. The lower end of lid 37 is further provided with clamping devices 38 for attaching portions of bags B1 and B2 near the opening thereof while other portions are folded over the front and side portions of the top edge of enclosure 31 in front of the moving element 37 for bag B1. Reciprocally, the second (back) bag B2 can be similarly attached behind the first bag B1 using the same clamping devices 38. Thereby, in use, handle 39 can be used to slide the lid 37 from front to back and vice versa to change the ratio inlets of the front bag and back bag occupy within the area of opening 33. Therefore, it is made easy to adjust the front bag's inlet wider up to near the full area of the opening 33 to drop a first type of matter in that bag B1 or adjust the back bag's inlet wider to drop a second type of matters therein.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein the movable element for splitting the area of opening 53 into adjustable receptacle inlets is a pivoting flap 57 pivoting about axis 35 at an interface of receptacles R1 and R2. In the case of FIG. 5a, receptacles R1 and R2 are rigid receptacle that can be removable or not from enclosure 51. Handle 59 can be used to move flap 57 in the position shown to enlarge an inlet of receptacle R2 and blocking an inlet of receptacle R1. Matters of a given type may then be easily dropped into receptacle R2. Reciprocally, the moving flap 57 may be pivoted in the opposite direction to open the inlet of receptacle R1 and close that of receptacle R2 so to enable matters of a second type to be dropped into receptacle R1. Intermediate positions may also be contemplated.

In the embodiment of FIG. 5b, rigid receptacles have been substituted by collapsible receptacles such as bags B1 and B2 in order to advantageously enable the volume of enclosure 51 to accumulate variable proportions of the two different matters. Furthermore, the pivot point 55 may be linearly slidable in a guiding groove or rail as in the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4 to adjust the size of the bag inlets in a continuous manner.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described hereinabove. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced in various ways. It is also to be understood that the phraseology or terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not limitation. Hence, although the invention has been described herein by way of illustrative embodiments thereof, many modifications and applications may be contemplated without departing from the spirit of the invention.

One can thus appreciate from the foregoing description, that the apparatus of the present invention advantageously provide reliable and practical solutions for the separation and accumulation of matters in separate receptacles, thus providing significant space savings in a simple and cost effective manner.

Claims

1. An apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters, the apparatus comprising at least a first and a second receptacle, an opening and a movable element splitting the opening area into a plurality of areas to define a first inlet associated with the first receptacle and a second inlet associated with the second receptacle, whereby the moving element is movable in one direction to enlarge the first inlet while reducing the second inlet and movable in the opposite direction to enlarge the second inlet while reducing the first inlet.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first and second receptacles comprises a collapsible receptacle.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the movable element is connected to the first and second receptacles.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said movable element comprises a sliding member.

5. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said movable element comprises a pivoting flap.

6. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the first and the second receptacles each comprise at least one collapsible portion and the movable element is connectable to portions of both receptacles.

7. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the movable element in connectable to a collapsible portion of at least one of the first and second receptacles.

8. An apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the first receptacle and the second receptacle each comprise a removable flexible bag.

9. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein at least one receptacle is removable.

10. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the moving element is movable between a position wherein the first inlet is larger than the second inlet and a position wherein the second inlet is larger than the first inlet.

11. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the moving element is mounted to and slidably movable on a guiding member at the periphery of the opening.

12. An apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters and adapted to receive a first and a second collapsible receptacles, said apparatus comprising i) a ring defining a peripheral member and a center opening and ii) a movable element mounted to said peripheral member and movable thereabout, said movable element comprising connecting means to attach portions of the first and second receptacles thereto and being movable between a first position wherein an inlet of the first receptacle is larger than an inlet of the second receptacle and a second position wherein the inlet of the second receptacle is larger than the inlet of the first receptacle.

13. An apparatus according to claim 12 further comprising a rigid enclosure for receiving the collapsible receptacles.

14. An apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said ring member is mountable on top of said rigid enclosure.

15. An apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the enclosure comprises a top portion comprising the ring.

16. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the connecting means comprise a receptacle clamping device and the movable element is slidebly movable along said peripheral member between the first position and the second position.

17. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the peripheral member and the opening are generally rectangular, and the movable element extends across the opening and is slidebly movable on opposite portions of said peripheral member between the first position and the second position.

18. An apparatus for separate accumulation of different matters, said apparatus comprising a rigid enclosure defining an opening and adapted to receive a first and a second collapsible receptacles, a cover adapted to be mounted on the enclosure to close the opening, the cover defining a peripheral member and comprising a lid pivotally and slidebly connected to the peripheral member to provide access to the opening, the lid comprising means for attaching portions of the first and second receptacles thereto, whereby sliding the lid with respect to the peripheral member increases the size of an inlet of the first receptacle while decreasing the size of an inlet of the second receptacle.

19. An apparatus according to claim 18, wherein each receptacle comprises a flexible bag, the means for attaching comprise at least one clamping device for removably attaching a portion of each receptacle to the lid, and the lid is slidable on opposite portions of the peripheral member between a first position wherein most of the opening area provides access to the inlet of the first receptacle and a second position wherein most of the opening area provides access to the inlet of the second receptacle.

Patent History

Publication number: 20110000920
Type: Application
Filed: Apr 2, 2009
Publication Date: Jan 6, 2011
Inventor: Dominique Bazinet (Montreal)
Application Number: 12/385,221

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Flexible Partition Provides A Variable Volume (220/530); Container Attachment Or Adjunct (220/694)
International Classification: B65D 1/24 (20060101); B65D 90/00 (20060101);