Patent application title: COMMODE LINER AND RECEPTACLE APPARATUS
Joan Meredith Moriyama (Piedmont, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47K1106FI
Class name: Dry closets receptacle type flexible material
Publication date: 2009-05-14
Patent application number: 20090119828
A commode liner (20) and receptacle (100) design for providing a safe,
easy, and affordable way to dispose of human waste from existing
commodes. A user of the preferably disposable plastic liner which is
constructed of a single sheet of material slips the liner cuffs over the
receptacle support thereby opening and retaining the bag open without
tucking the bag edges over the rim. To obscure contents and minimize
odors, the user lifts the commode toilet seat to access the receptacle,
and stacks one of the supports onto the other support into a closed
position. Once ready to be discarded, the user can easily lift off the
cuffs without coming into contact the liner's soiled areas by slipping
their hand into pocket of the cuff. The user can then close the neck of
the bag with a variety devices such as twist tie, reverse one of the
cuffs over the other so that the exposed potentially soiled areas are
turned inward. Once the liner is removed, the receptacle and supports are
unsoiled since the liner cuffs substantially cover the receptacle rim and
supports as part of the installation of the liner. The liner's single
sheet construction simplifies manufacture thereby lowering manufacturing
1. An apparatus comprising:a commode including:a frame;a seat defining an
opening, said seat supported on the frame;a receptacle operably connected
to the frame and positioned below the opening in defined by the seat;at
least two support members rotatably mounted to the receptacle; anda
disposable liner comprising at least two cuffs, each said cuff defining a
sleeve configured to receive one said support member.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the liner defines a bag having sidewalls and a bottom and having an opening and said cuffs substantially covering said support members.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said cuffs are integrally formed with said sidewalls.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said cuffs and said sidewalls are formed from a flexible impermeable sheet of material.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said support members removably secure the disposable liner to the receptacle.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cuffs are flexible.
7. A disposable liner for use with a commode having a receptacle for receiving human waste, the receptacle having at least two rotatable support members, said disposable liner comprising:a bag having a base and integral sidewalls, said bag being open at a top portion thereof,a pair of cuffs integral with said sidewalls and defining a slot for receiving at least two support members rotatably mounted to the receptacle; anda disposable liner comprising at least two cuffs, each said cuff defining a sleeve configured to receive one of the support members.
8. The liner of claim 7, wherein said cuffs are integrally formed with said sidewalls.
9. The liner of claim 7, wherein said cuffs and said sidewalls are formed from a flexible impermeable sheet of material.
10. The liner of claim 7, wherein said support members removably secure the disposable liner to the receptacle.
11. The liner of claim 7, wherein the cuffs are flexible.
CLAIM FOR PRIORITY
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/986,574 filed Nov. 8, 2007.
This invention relates to commode liners, specifically to commode liner and companion receptacle apparatuses having means that allow individuals to conveniently dispose of human waste in a sanitary manner. Commode users typically eliminate directly into an unlined commode receptacle. The receptacle is then removed, emptied into a toilet, cleaned and placed back into the commode. Disposing human waste from commodes can be odorous, unpleasant, unsanitary, and physically challenging for elderly, weakened, or disabled users. It can also be embarrassing for the person creating the waste.
Commodes that are specifically designed to incorporate liners secure the plastic liners into the commode by tucking the entire bag mouth around the circumference of the receptacle. This requires the user to bend over the commode and make sure that all the edges of the liner are properly secured which is challenging to users with limited dexterity and balance. While liners that are designed to integrate into commodes are easy to install, they are complicated to manufacture, expensive to ship, bulky, and cumbersome to discard. General use receptacles such as wastebaskets that use plastic liners often leave surface areas exposed which can become soiled. Plastic bags in these receptacles are also prone to slipping, tearing, and creating additional mess by not containing soiled areas to the inner portions of the liner.
Both U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,341,386 to Phillips (2002) and 5,095,556 to Franey (1992) are commodes that are specifically designed to incorporate flexible liners, but require the user to tuck and manipulate the bag mouth over a frame which can be challenging for commode users.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,216,376 to Samuels (2007), 4,996,727 to Wyatt (1991), and 6,523,187 to Brink (2003) are liners that are designed to be integrated into existing commodes and dry toilets. They are easy to install and keep surface areas covered, but all involve multiple materials vs. a single sheet, and are complex to manufacture.
Both the Samuels and Wyatt patents are flexible bags with rigid tops that simplify installation, but are bulky, making it difficult to discard. The rigid tops which are made of chipboard and similar types of materials must have the plastic bags attached to them, adding a manufacturing step. The weight and size of the rigid tops also make it costly to ship.
The Brink patent is comprised of a series of bags that are compressed one atop of another and are removably attached to one another and a base. The selected bag can be torn away after use, while leaving the next liner already in position for use. Each bag can be tied together, bundled and easily disposed. Manufacturing multiple bags attached to a planar base that are perforated so they can be torn off is complex. The plastic bags can also be slippery for elderly users to sit on.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,375,131 to Youst (2002) and 4,537,377 to Shewchuk (1985) are both plastic grocery bag holders that retain the bag as it receives contents. The Youst patent has rotatable arms that receive and remove bags in an upright vertical position, but supports are exposed, and the holder is not designed to close and reopen the bag mouth. Conversely, the Shewchuk plastic bag holder closes and reopens to minimize odors and obscure contents, but this bag holder also exposes the supports, and does not have a fail safe receptacle to contain contents if the bag tears or slips. The locking button and strap to hold the bag in place are exposed, adds an additional step for the user to implement, and increases the possibility that the bag will tear since the locking button pushes the plastic bag into a circular opening and wedges the plastic bag into the hole.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,953,740 to Koda (1990) is a wastebasket which requires the user to place the bag mouth over the circumference of the wastebasket rim. Although the retainer holds the liner in place to prevent the liner from slipping as it receive contents, the wastebasket is specifically designed to prevent the liner from interfering with the hinge mechanism and does not cover the entire rim and hinge thereby exposing these areas to soiling.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,768,818 to Kolic (1988) is a bag constructed out of a single sheet of material that turns outer panels inward. The Kolic "Disposable Litter Pick-up Mitt" patent contains soiled areas by reversing the outer panels inward and allows the users hands to be removed without touching the soiled areas, but does not easily install into a commode setup.
In accordance with one embodiment, the invention, an improved commode liner and companion receptacle, is a flexible bag constructed of a single sheet of material with a pair of cuffs and a receptacle with a pair rotatable supports. When the supports are in a generally vertical position, the cuffs slip over the bag holder supports. As the supports shift from a vertical position to a horizontal position the bag opening is stretched and retains the liner over the receptacle rim. In this simple motion several actions are achieved: the bag mouth is opened, the rim of the receptacle and supports are substantially covered, the user is able to stand more upright, and spends less time and effort in ensuring that the liner is installed properly. Since the liner is made of a single sheet of lightweight flexible material, the liner can be manufactured and shipped inexpensively, and the user can easily bundle and discard the liner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a planar view of the liner constructed;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the liner formed from a single sheet of flexible material un-constructed;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view with panel elements spread slightly for better illustration of their relationship;
FIG. 6 is a perspective of the receptacle or holder with the liner secured therein;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the liner fitted over and substantially covering the retaining supports;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the receptacle showing supports in various horizontal and vertical positions;
FIGS. 9a to 9c are perspective views to illustrate successive states of hand-insertion, cuff grasping, and final wrap in the use of the liner of FIGS. 3 and 4;
FIG. 9a illustrates the operational step of beginning to reverse the cuff by using a hand inserted into the cuff opening to grasp and contain the opposing cuff;
FIG. 9b illustrates when the cuff has been reversed by bringing the reversed inner panel around the opposing cuff; and
FIG. 9c shows that upon further wrapping around top of the package with wrapping closure completed. Once the cuff has thus been reversed and the hand removed, the liner may be handled without soiled hands and discarded to a suitable point of disposal.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show a first embodiment of the invention which includes a commode 10 and liner 20. Commode 10 includes receptacle supports 12, a seat 11, and waste receptacle 100. Waste receptacle 100 is a container having a floor and integral sidewalls 104. The distal edge of sidewall 104 defines rim 106. According to one embodiment the receptacle includes supports 102 are rotatably mounted to the receptacle. As will be explained below in further detail, supports 102 are configured to secure the liner 20 to the receptacle 100.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show an embodiment of liner 20. FIG. 3 is a planar view of the liner 20 constructed showing a cuff 22 of liner 20, and FIG. 4 is a perspective view of liner 20 showing left and right cuffs 22 and left and right bag panels 24 un-constructed.
Cuffs 22 define an envelope-like structure having an opening 44 configured to receive supports 102. Bag panels 24 are generally orthogonal to cuffs 22 and in cooperation with the bottom of the bag 26 to define a pouch for receiving waste.
As best seen in FIG. 5, a presently preferred embodiment of the liner 20 is constructed from a two-ply material including a permeable inner layer 40 and an impermeable outer layer 42. According to one embodiment, an absorbent gelling compound (not shown) is interposed between the inner and outer layers 40, 42. The absorbent material may be a hydrogel or other absorbent material such as commonly used in diapers. The liner 20 may also be constructed from an impermeable single-ply material.
Turning to FIG. 3, liner 20 is basically a flattened pouch or bag structure in which the entire liner is constructed out of a single sheet of flexible material which has closed side and bottom bag panels 30 and 26, respectively with the top of the bag 44 being open.
According to one embodiment, cuff panel 34 and top of bag panel 28 are brought together and are sealed along their perimeters 38 to provide externally exposed downwardly open cuffs 22.
According to a presently preferred embodiment, cuffs 22 are cut at a lateral angle that is widest at the cuff opening, allowing a secure fit around supports 102, and ensuring that the cuff edges do not protrude through the opening of toilet seat 11. However, the cuffs 22 can be of any of a variety of shapes, e.g., rectangular or the like.
While preferred embodiment of bag panel 24 is downwardly tapered and allows the liner to easily drop within the receptacle sidewall 104 without getting caught on the receptacle rim 106 and misdirected on its way into the receptacle, bag panel 24 can also be rectangular shaped.
FIGS. 6 and 7 show liner 20 in various states of installation into receptacle 100. FIG. 6 is a perspective of the receptacle 100 with the cuff 22 secured over support 102. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of liner 20 installed and ready to receive contents. According to one embodiment, cuffs 22 are fitted over and substantially cover supports 102.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the receptacle showing supports in various horizontal and vertical positions. In the preferred embodiment a pair of c-shaped rotatable arms, frame members, or supports 102 are secured into insert openings 110 which enable relative movement of the supports 102 to shift into three general positions: vertical, horizontally spread apart, and horizontally stacked. Supports 102 are preferably made of non-corrosive metal or plastic, while receptacle 100 is preferably made of semi-rigid plastic.
According to a presently preferred embodiment, the rotatable arms, frame members, or supports 102 are c-shaped. However, other shapes are contemplated and fall within the scope of the invention. For example, the supports 102 can take several forms including rectangular, and v-shapes.
FIGS. 9a-9c are perspective views to illustrate successive states of hand-insertion, opposing cuff grasping, and final wrap in the use of the liner once the liner has been sealed by a closing device 50.
FIG. 9a illustrates the operational step of beginning to reverse cuff 22 by using a hand inserted into the cuff opening 36 to grasp and contain the opposing cuff 22 and inner areas of liner 40 to contain potentially soiled areas.
FIG. 9b illustrates when cuff 22 has been reversed by bringing the reversed inner cuff panel 36 around the opposing cuff 22 the grasping hand can be removed.
FIG. 9c shows that upon further wrapping around top of the package with wrapping closure completed. Once the cuff has thus been reversed and the hand removed, the liner may be handled without soiled hands, to a suitable point of disposal.
In operation, the user lifts commode toilet seat 11 to a vertical position, and places receptacle 100 on to commode receptacle receiving supports 12. The user can, when desired, raise support 102 to a generally vertical position, place cuff 22 over support 102 (FIG. 6), and return support 102 to a horizontal position. To complete the installation of liner 20 into receptacle 100, the user repeats the same operation by raising support 102 to a generally vertical position, placing cuff 22 over support 102, and returning support 102 and commode toilet seat 11 to a horizontal position. This operation has six effects that ease the installation of the liner. (1) The vertically positioned supports 102 allow the user to stand more upright rather than bent over. (2) Once cuffs 22 are installed over supports 102 and 104, respectively, the movement of supports 102 from vertical to horizontal simultaneously spreads the bag mouth open, and allows the liner to substantially cover receptacle rim 106 and supports 102. See FIG. 2 and FIG. 7. (3) As the liner receives contents, cuffs 22 are fitted over supports 102 in such a way that retains the liner from slipping thus eliminating the need to tuck or pinch the liner edges over receptacle rim 106. (4) Since cuffs 22 and supports 102 are ideally symmetric pairs this eliminates the need to match a specific cuff to a specific support, in a specific sequence. (5) Since the body of bag panels 24 are preferably tapered, the bag easily drops into receptacle 100 and bag walls do not get caught or misdirected on receptacle rim 106. (6) Since liner cuffs 22 are preferably cut laterally, the cuff edges do not protrude through the toilet seat opening 11.
When commode toilet seat 11 is in a vertical position and cuffs 22 fitted over supports 102 in an open and receiving position FIG. 7, the user can if desired, stack one of the supports 102 on to opposing support 102 thereby closing the bag mouth. This operation has three effects that allow for privacy, comfort, temporary closure, and removal of the liner. (1) When supports 102 are stacked onto each other in a horizontal position, contents are obscured and odors are minimized. (2) If desired, liner 20 can be reopened by lifting one of the supports 102 and placing the top support into an open position FIGS. 2 and 7. This allows the user to deposit additional contents, and or view and record results. (3) In the stacked horizontal position in which the bag mouth is closed, the user can remove liner 20 by inserting their hand into whichever cuff 22 is on top and lift liner 20 from receptacle 100 without soiling their hands.
If desired, liner 20 can also be removed from a vertical position FIG. 5. Support 102 is put into a generally vertical position where the user can remove the liner by either inserting their hand the inside cuff 36 of the raised cuff 22 or simply grasping cuff 22 and lifting it out of the receptacle, without need to un-tuck the bag mouth from the receptacle. This allows for a safer and more comfortable removal since the user can stand more upright rather than bending over.
Once ready to be discarded, the user lifts liner 20 out from receptacle 100, closes the neck of the bag. The neck of the bag may be closed using a variety closing devices 50 such as twist tie or the like. Alternatively, the neck may be closed by reversing one cuff 22 over opposing cuff 22 as shown in FIGS. 9a to 9c so that exposed potentially soiled areas are turned inward further preventing the bag from soiling other items that it comes in contact with.
The invention may be embodied in other forms without departure from the spirit and essential characteristics thereof. The embodiments described therefore are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Although the present invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments that are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by reference to the appended claims.
Patent applications in class Flexible material
Patent applications in all subclasses Flexible material