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Title:
BIODEGRADABLE CONTAINER HAVING A SNAP CAP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/072200
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Resealable jars (1000) are described that include a body having a rigid fibrous wall that at least partially defines a lumen, and an open end. Each of the jars can also include a biodegradable pressure snap cap (1006) that is sized and dimensioned to releasably engage the open end of the jar. It is contemplated that the snap cap (1006) can include at least one projection (1012), which extends downwardly from the snap cap, and is configured to contact an inside surface of the wall. The at least one projection (1012) can contact all or a portion of an inner circumference of the outer wall.

Inventors:
WEST, Ellery (629 Bertsch Ave, Crecent City, California, 95531, US)
WEST, Gail (629 Bertsch Ave, Crecent City, California, 95531, US)
Application Number:
US2010/059834
Publication Date:
June 16, 2011
Filing Date:
December 10, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WEST, Ellery (629 Bertsch Ave, Crecent City, California, 95531, US)
WEST, Gail (629 Bertsch Ave, Crecent City, California, 95531, US)
International Classes:
B65D65/46; B65D3/22; B65D43/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DEAN, Ryan S. et al. (2603 Main Street, Suite 1000Irvine, California, 92614, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A resealable jar, comprising:

a body having a rigid fibrous wall that at least partially defines a lumen, and an open end; a biodegradable snap cap sized and dimensioned to releasably engage the open end; and wherein the snap cap includes at least one projection that (a] extends downwardly from the snap cap and (b) is configured to contact an inside surface of the wall.

2. The container of claim 1 , wherein the pressure snap cap is at least partially comprises flexible biodegradable material.

3. The container of claim 1 , wherein the body and the pressure snap cap are biodegradable.

4. The container of claim 1 , wherein the body is composed of a fibrous material.

5. The container of claim 1 , wherein the body is composed of a paper.

6. The container of claim 5, wherein the body comprises a single piece of rolled paper.

7. The container of claim 1 , further comprising vitamins disposed within the lumen.

8. The container of claim 1 , further comprising herbs disposed within the lumen.

9. The container of claim 1 , wherein the snap cap includes at least two projections, each of which (a] extends downwardly from the snap cap and (b) is configured to contact an inside surface of the wall. 10. The container of claim 1, wherein the at least one projection has an arc length of at least 45 degrees. 1 1. The container of claim 1 , wherein the projection has an indentation sized and dimensioned to receive a inward lip of the outer wall.

Description:
BIODEGRADABLE CONTAINER HAVING A SNAP CAP

[0001 ] This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. provisional application having serial number 61/285655 filed on December 1 1, 2009. This and all other extrinsic materials discussed herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. Where a definition or use of a term in an incorporated reference is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.

Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of the invention is containers comprising paper or other fibrous materials. Background

[0003] Resealable bottles, jars, and other containers are useful in storing pills, powders, herbs, and other dry goods because the containers protect their contents with rigid, moisture-resistant containers. Once opened, these containers can be re scaled to preserve the goods within the container by using a screw cap, pressure-snap cap, or other closure. Typical containers are composed of glass, metals, or plastics, and have a metallic or plastic closure (see, e.g., U.S. patent no. 3730399 to Dibrell et al.).

[0004] Although these moisture-resistant containers sufficiently protect their contents, these containers significantly add to landfills when discarded. Because the containers are generally composed of non-biodegradable materials including, for example, glass, metal, and plastic, the containers can persist in landfills for hundreds of thousands of years.

[0005] It is known to have paper containers with lids formed from latex rubber, such as those described in U.S. patent no. 4901881 to McElroy; U.S. patent no. 4948009 to Sawatani; U.S. patent no. 5036994 to McElroy; and U.K. patent appl. no. 2238270 to BJL Industry (M) Sdn. BHD. However, such lids can be difficult to place on paper containers and often lead to deformation of the paper containers because of the typically low strength and stiffness of the paper containers when compared with plastic, foam, or metal containers.

[0006] Thus, there is still a need for resealable and moisture-resistant containers for dry goods that are biodegradable, which include biodegradable, resealable snap caps that facilitate removal and attachment of the snap caps to the containers while minimizing deformation of the containers.

Summary of The Invention

[0007} The inventive subject matter provides apparatus, systems and methods in which a resealable, biodegradable jar has a body that includes a rigid fibrous wall that at least partially defines a lumen, and an open end. The jar also includes a biodegradable pressure snap cap that is sized and dimensioned to releasably engage the jar's open end. In currently preferred

embodiments, the snap cap includes at least one downwardly-extending projection, which is configured to contact at least a portion of a circumference of the fibrous wall's interior.

[0008] It is contemplated that the at least one projection can be sized and dimensioned such that the projection contacts at least 10 degrees or 5% of a circumference of an interior of the wall, and more preferably at least 15 degrees or 10% of a circumference of the wall's interior. In other contemplated embodiments, the projection contacts at least 50% or 180 degrees of a

circumference of the wall's interior. In still other contemplated embodiments, the projection contacts the entirety of a circumference of the wall's interior. Unless the context dictates the contrary, all ranges set forth herein should be interpreted as being inclusive of their endpoints, and open-ended ranges should be interpreted to include commercially practical values. Similarly, all lists of values should be considered as inclusive of intermediate values unless the context indicates the contrary. As used herein, the phrases "a circumference of an interior of the wall" and "a circumference of the wall's interior" mean an interior surface of a horizontal cross-section of the wall.

[0009J Preferred containers are moisture-resistant, and are composed of a fibrous material or other biodegradable material(s). The body can be composed of one or more biodegradable material(s], and preferably comprises paper or other fibrous material(s]. More preferably, the body's wall comprises a single piece of rolled paper, which forms at least three layers of the rolled paper.

[0010] As used herein "fibrous material" means materials characterized by a plurality of discrete fibers. The filaments can be plant or animal derived, synthetic, or some combination of these. In "plant-derived fibrous materials" the filaments are at least predominantly of plant origin, examples of which include wood, papyrus, rice, ficus, mulberry, fibers, cotton, yucca, sisal, bowstring hemp and New Zealand flax. Paper is generally a fibrous material that is usually made by pressing and de-watering moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags, or grasses. [0011] As used herein, a "biodegradable" means a material or collection of materials that will break down to at least 90% H 2 0, C0 2 and biomass within a period of six months from the action of naturally occurring micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, algae etc. under favorable conditions. For example, meat, plants, wood, cotton, animal protein, paper, are all deemed herein to be biodegradable. Thus, while individual components of an object might not be deemed biodegradable, the object itself will be deemed biodegradable if the components are biodegradable overall.

[0012] As used herein, the term "pressure snap cap" means a closure having a flexibility such that a horizontal cross-sectional area can be increased by at least 1 mm, while still allowing the closure to revert to its original size and dimension. In alternative contemplated embodiments, the flexibility is such that a horizontal cross-sectional area can be increased by at least 0.5 mm or 2 mm. As used herein the term "cap" is a component that fits around or otherwise encloses an opening, and includes caps, lids, and so forth, but excludes stoppers, plugs, and so forth.

[0013] As used herein, and unless the context dictates otherwise, the term "coupled to" is intended to include both direct coupling (in which two elements that are coupled to each other contact each other) and indirect coupling (in which at least one additional element is located between the two elements]. Therefore, the terms "coupled to" and "coupled with" are used synonymously.

[0014] Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the inventive subject matter will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawing figures in which like numerals represent like components.

Brief Description of The Drawing

[0015] Fig. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a jar with a snap cap. [0016] Fig. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a snap cap.

[0017] Fig. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a jar with a snap cap.

[0018] Figs. 4-6 are vertical cross sectional views of various embodiments of a jar with a snap cap.

[0019] Fig. 7 is a vertical cross section of another embodiment of a snap cap.

[0020] Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the snap cap of Fig. 7.

[0021 ] Fig. 9 is a top view of yet another embodiment of a snap cap.

[0022] Fig. 10 is a vertical cross sectional view of yet another embodiment of a jar with a snap cap. Detailed Description

[0023] In Figure 1 , a resealable jar 100 is shown that includes body 102, which has a rigid fibrous wall 104 that at least partially defines a lumen (not shown), and an open end. As used herein, "lumen" means the inner space defined by the walls of the container. Contemplated jars can have a horizontal cross-section that comprises a cylindrical, ovular, square, or any other commercially suitable shapes. It is also contemplated that the jar 100 can include one or more tapered walls (not shown]. The jar 100 could have any commercially suitable size and dimension depending on the desired storage volume of the lumen.

[0024] Body 102 preferably comprises one or more biodegradable material(s] such that the body could be recycled or composted when no longer needed. Contemplated material(s] for the body 102 include, for example, Kraft or other papers, strings, fibrous materials, or combination(s] thereof.

[0025] The body 102 can be formed from a single piece of material, although it is contemplated that the body 102 could include wall 104 and a separate bottom piece such as a paperboard disk or other material(s] (not shown) that fits around or within a portion of wall 104. In preferred embodiments, the wall 104 comprises a single piece of rolled kraft or other paper such that a wall 104 with at least three layers of the rolled paper is formed. In other contemplated embodiments, the jar 100 can comprise a rigid paper tube having a separate fitted paper closure permanently fixed to securely seal one end of the jar 100. In still other contemplated embodiments, the jar 100 can be composed of a molded fibrous material that forms a rigid vessel of any desirable size and dimension with an open end configured to receive snap cap 106. [0026] Jar 100 can also include a biodegradable pressure snap cap 106, which is sized and dimensioned to releasably engage an open end of the body 102. The snap cap 106 can include a rim 130, and one or more downwardly-extending projections (not shown), which are configured to contact an inner surface of the wall 104. The projection(s] can advantageously facilitate a user with securing the snap cap 106 to the body 102 while preventing deformation of the body 102 and ensuring that the snap cap 106 is properly disposed on the body 102.

[0027] Contemplated snap caps 106 include any commercially suitable closure or combination of closures that are (1) biodegradable, (2] seal the container, and (3) provide for moisture resistance. It is preferred that the snap cap 106 be at least partially composed of one or more flexible biodegradable material(s) such that limited deformation of the snap cap 106 is allowed. Contemplated materials include, for example, vulcanized natural latex rubber and polymerized vegetable oil, although any commercially suitable biodegradable material(s) could be used. Such flexibility advantageously allows the snap 106 to be used to repeatedly seal the jar 100 after use.

[0028] Advantageously, both the body 102 and snap cap 106 can be biodegradable such that jar 100 is 100% biodegradable. In this manner, the jar 100 can be recycled or composted when the jar 100 is no longer needed, and can thereby prevent additional waste from being disposed in ever-growing landfills.

[0029] Preferred jars 100 can have one or more moisture resistant films applied to at least a portion of the jar's interior, or can be composed of inherently moisture-resistant materials, or materials treated to have moisture-resistant properties such as by being coated or impregnated with a permeation barrier. For example, at least a portion of an inner surface of the jar 100 can advantageously include a permeation barrier that reduces the oxygen or moisture transfer rate of the jar 100. As used herein, a statement that a wall of ajar "includes a permeation barrier" means that the wall is treated with an additive that has a transfer rate of less than or equal to (a) 50 ul of water and/or sunflower oil per cm for each mm of wall thickness per six-month period of time, or (b) 10 ml to 100 ml, 10 ml to 200 ml, and less preferably 100 ml to 500 ml of oxygen per m 2 per each 1 mm of wall thickness per 24 hour period of time, at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure (STP).

[0030] Preferred permeation barriers comprise vegetable or petroleum wax, vulcanized latex, plant resins, and cellophane. Other suitable permeation barriers include, for example, those disclosed in US7344784 to Hodson or US20050130261 to Wils, and any other commercially suitable barriers. Still other contemplated permeation barriers include, for example, nonbiodegradable metalized oxygen barrier films and the use of metallised biodegradable films such as a gas disposition of aluminum on Polylactic Acid Polymer (PLA). [0031 ] The jar 100 can be configured to receive vitamins, herbs, tea leaves, oatmeal, or other contents, and the specific composition of the jar and its components will depend upon the expected contents to be contained within the lumen of the jar 100. For example, if the jar contains vitamins, the jar 100 should be configured to reduce the oxygen transfer rate of the jar such that the vitamins do not prematurely spoil. [0032] Figure 2 illustrates a flexible, biodegradable snap cap 206 having an upper surface 232, and a protruding tab 214 that facilitates removal of the snap cap 206 from ajar or other container. The snap cap 206 is preferably sized and dimensioned such that the cap 206 can positively engage and thereby seal an open end of a container, such as the jar shown in Figure 1 , for example. It is contemplated that the snap cap 206 could be of any commercially suitable size and dimension, and can thereby be used to seal a variety of jars and other containers.

[0033] Preferred snap caps 206 are sized and dimensioned to engage a ridge of ajar or other container, and include a rim 230 that can be disposed about an exterior of a container. The snap cap 206 can be inherently moisture resistant, or rendered moisture resistant by a film or permeation barrier, and thereby help to preserve the contents of the container. [0034] In Figure 3, ajar 300 is shown having a body 302 that includes a wall 304, and an open end 308 into which a biodegradable snap cap 306 can be inserted. The body 302 preferably defines a lumen 320, in which one or more contents can be stored. The body 302 can be made of rolled paper formed into a tube that comprises first, second, and third layers 350A-350C, respectively, or alternatively, molded fibrous material(s], for example.

[0035] The body 302 is preferably coated with a permeation barrier material 334, although it is alternatively contemplated that the permeation barrier material 334 could be impregnated within or otherwise disposed on the body 302. In other contemplated embodiments, the body 302 could include a film that acts as the permeation barrier material 334.

[0036] The snap cap 306 includes a single projection 312 that extends downwardly from the snap cap 306, and is sized and dimensioned to be received within the open end 308 of body 302 such that the projection 312 can contact at least a portion of a circumference of an interior of wall 304. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the snap cap 306 could include two or more projections that each contacts a portion of a circumference of an interior of wall 304. An outer edge of the projection 312 can have an arc length of at least 45 degrees, and it is further contemplated that the projection 312 could contact all or almost all (e.g., 85% or more) of a circumference of an interior of wall 304. The snap cap 306 can also include a protruding tab 314 that facilitates removal of the snap cap 306 from the jar 300.

[0037] The snap cap 306 further includes a recess 336 that is sized and dimensioned to receive an upper portion 338 of body 302, and thereby effectively seals the lumen 320 from an external environment. With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 3, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 1 apply.

[0038] As shown in Figure 4, an interior surface 413 of the rim 430 can have an indentation 416 that is sized and dimensioned to mate with a lip 418 or other projection of wall 404. In this manner, the snap cap 406 can be used to cover the open end 408 and positively engage with the lip 418 of the jar 400 to create a seal. Alternatively, the exterior surface of the projection 412 can include a bump or other projection that is sized and dimensioned to mate with an indentation on an interior portion of wall (see, e.g., Figure 6). With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 4, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 3 apply.

[0039] Figure 5 shows ajar 500 having a snap cap 506 that is coupled to the jar 500 to threby effectively seal an open end of the jar 500 and protect the contents of lumen 520. With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 5, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 4 apply.

[0040] In Figure 6, another embodiment of ajar 600 is shown having a snap cap 606 that is sized and dimensioned to cover an open end 608 of jar 600, and includes projection 612. An exterior surface 640 of the projection 612 preferably includes an indentation 616 that is sized and dimensioned to receive an internal lip 618 of the body 602, which can assist in maintaining the snap cap 606 on the body 602. With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 6, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 4 apply.

[0041 ] Figure 7 illustrates another embodiment of a snap cap 706 having a plurality of projections 712, which each extends downwardly from the snap cap 706. Each of the projections 712 is configured to contact a portion of a circumference of an exterior of the wall of the container. The snap cap 706 also includes a recess 736 into which an upper surface of a container can be inserted. Figure 8 illustrates a perspective view of the snap cap of Figure 7. With respect to the remaining numerals in each of Figures 7 and 8, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 4 apply.

[0042] Figure 9 illustrates another embodiment of a snap cap 906 that includes projections 912 that each has an "L-shape" horizontal cross-section. The snap cap 906 has a square-shaped horizontal cross-section, although the snap cap 906 could have any commercially suitable shape. With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 9, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of Figure 4 apply.

[0043] In Figure 10, ajar 1000 is shown having a snap cap 1006 that includes projection 1012. An exterior surface 1040 of the projection 1012 preferably includes an indentation 1016 that is sized and dimensioned to receive an internal lip 1018 of the body 1002, which can assist in maintaining the snap cap 1006 on the body 1002. Pills 1046 can be disposed within a lumen 1020 of the jar 1000, although any commercially suitable product(s) could be disposed within the jar including, for example, herbs, vitamins, oats and so forth. With respect to the remaining numerals in Figure 10, the same considerations for like components with like numerals of

Figure 4 apply. [0044] It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the scope of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context In particular, the terms "comprises" and "comprising" should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced. Where the specification claims refers to at least one of something selected from the group consisting of A, B, C .... and N, the text should be interpreted as requiring only one element from the group, not A plus N, or B plus N, etc.