This invention allows the draw tape to have the tactile advantage of a low density polyethylene, making it comfortable for consumers to use as a handle, while also having the heat sealing capacity of this same low density material, yet have the strength afforded by a high density polyethylene material, that otherwise would be uncomfortable for the consumer.
Glad Quick-Tie = Patent # 5,246,110:
Patent # 5,246,110 focuses specifically on trash bags. The patent applicant notes that bags that are typically used for storing and transporting garbage or refuse, prior to collection or transport to disposal, are made from plastic material. When these bags are in their flat condition, they are comprised of two rectangular panels, which are connected on three of the four sides. The fourth, open, side is used to insert matter into the bag. These types of bags are typically made via a tubular extrusion process ("United States Patent 5246110," 1991).
These bags are widely used, the applicant surmises, especially for collecting kitchen refuse. One challenge of traditional drawstring bags is that they are often difficult to close, especially when they are substantially full. Because of this difficulty in closing full trash bags, oftentimes spillage occurs. In addition, dogs can discover what is in the trash bags and destroy the bags, causing the contents to spill out, as they try to get into the bag. In an effort to prevent these things from occurring, consumers sometimes tie the corners of the top of the bag together, to enhance the bag's closure security. However, this significantly reduces the bag's capacity to hold matter ("United States Patent 5246110," 1991).
Past attempts to rectify this problem have come in modifying the shape of the bag itself, so that projections or tie parts will help in closing the open end of the bag. Although these previous designs do improving the closing performance of the bag, they also reduce the capacity of the bag. In two previous patents, tie parts are projecting from the bag, so that the tails can be tied together. Two tie parts in these designs are inferior to the four tie part design of this patent ("United States Patent 5246110," 1991).
Another previous patent does use four tie parts, just as this one does. However, in this previous design, the bags are gussetted. This design reduces the capacity of the bag to amount of plastic used to manufacture the bag ratio. Instead, Patent # 5,246,110 four tie parts, formed "from rounded peaks, separated by concave valleys with each peak having side portions which has a convex part including convex transitional portions respectively connected to the side portions at one end thereof" ("United States Patent 5246110," 1991).
This design utilizes the flat bag system found traditionally with other trash bags, minimizing the amount of material utilized in the manufacture of the bag. It also does not negatively affect the storage capacity of the bag.
Distinguish and Differentiate the Patents Between the Three Items
All three of the previously overviewed patents have been applied to Glad trash bag lines. In fact, in the case of the Glad Force Flex brand, two of the three patents are applied -- both Patent # 5,205,650 and Patent # 5,006,380. However despite the fact that they all three have been applied to the same product type, they are all three completely unique.
Patent #5,205, 650 deals specifically with the rupture resistance of the bag itself. As applied to the Force Flex brand, these trash bags offer superior stretchable strength. Although the invention could have simply been applied to zones of the bag most prone to rupturing, Glad has applied it to the entire bag, minimizing the risk of ruptures. In contrast, Patent # 5,006,380 has nothing to do with the bag material at all.
Instead Patent # 5,006,380 focuses solely on the drawstring. This invention gets both the heat sealability and tactile qualities of the low density polyethylene, while still utilizing the strength of high density polyethylene. The bag material itself could be of the Force Flex design, or it could be traditional thermoplastic film design. Of course, this option is in competition with Patent # 5,246,110.
Patent # 5,246,110 is another type of closure system. Unlike the draw tape system utilized by Patent # 5,006,380, this patent does not use another component to facilitate closing of the bag. Instead, the design of the bag itself incorporates the closure method. In the form of four ties, the patent can be utilized with the material design of Patent # 5,205,650 or any other traditional bag design. However, it is used in place of the draw tape method described in Patent # 5,006,380.
Details of the Improvement:
The improvement I've decided to make to the trash bag product is an absorbent strip placed in the bottom of each trash bag. This absorbent strip will be made of a similar absorbent material as baby diapers and will be affixed in the bottom of each bag. The strip will run the full length of the bottom of the bag. This absorbent strip will be used to absorb liquids that gather in the bottom of the trash bag.
Why This Improvement is Important:
In 2001, the citizens of the United States created 409 million tons of non-hazardous waste. This was up nearly 66% over 1990's 247 million tons figure ("Waste & recycling," n.d.). Much of that waste is either stored and/or transported to a waste facility through the use of plastic trash bags. However, one of the largest challenges is the spillage of waste from these trash bags.
As Glad has already taken note, consumers do not like to have their garbage come out of the trash bags once it's been placed inside. All three of the patents reviewed -- # 5,205,650, # 5,006,380, and # 5,246,110 -- have something to do with preventing garbage from escaping a bag once it's placed inside. The stretchable strength improvement of # 5,205,650 helps minimize the possibility of ruptures for consumers. The improvement on draw tape focused on in # 5,006,380 helps not only allow the drawstring to be strong, helping keep the bag closed when it is used as a handle, but also helps the heat sealability of the drawstring so it doesn't separate from the bag itself thereby causing spillage. Lastly, the closure improvement, found in the Quick Tie system of # 5,246,110, also helps minimize spillage possibility by making the trash bags easier to close while not negatively affecting trash bag capacity. This same goal is found with the recommended absorbent strip.
It is not uncommon for liquids to be thrown into trash bags. Whether it is liquids from foods like raw meat or canned or jarred food that is being thrown away that was placed opened or has opened during the waste removal process, these liquids tend to pool in the bottom of the trash bag. These liquids are a prime target for messy and irritating spillage.
Even the smallest pin prick in the bottom of a garbage bag can cause a disgusting and unhealthy mess. Unlike solid waste, liquids can escape through the smallest of areas. The puncture through the trash bag can occur from outside the bag or from inside the bag. Anything sharp that the trash bag comes into contact with, during transport or storage, can cause a hole where liquids can leak out. As liquids settle in the bottom of the bag, and it is the bottom of the bag where it is most likely to experience contact with something that could puncture it, this is of particular concern. In addition, punctures can occur from inside of the bag.
The material inside of the bag may be responsible for the breach in the trash bag responsible for liquid leakage. Even using stretchable strength enhancing technology, such as Patent # 5,205,650, can not prevent a small, sharp object from puncturing a trash bag. Although this technology may prevent a rupture from occurring, everything from broken glass, to pins, to nails, to innumerable sharp objects could pierce the trash bag and create a hole that could leak liquid. No closure device could prevent this from happening.
Although both the draw tape closure (# 5,006,380) and the Quick Tie closure (# 5,246,110) are effective means of sealing the top of the trash bag, neither can prevent a breach elsewhere in the bag. In addition, although these closures may adequately seal the top of the trash bag to contain solid waste within the confines of the bag, neither are 100% liquid tight. With the absorbent strip, this wouldn't be a problem any longer.
As noted, due to the physical properties of liquid and the effect of gravity, liquid pools in the bottom of trash bags. An absorbent strip placed along the entire bottom would collect this liquid and trap it inside the strip. Therefore, if…