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Title:
DRINKING STRAW AND METHOD FOR THE PRODUCTIO THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/053905
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A drinking straw and method for the production thereof is disclosed which is characterised by the fact that the said drinking straw is essentially constituted of a body (2) endowed with a hole (20) which runs therethrough and a mouthpiece (3) provided for engaging therewith at one end of the body, wherein the said body (2) consists of a frozen liquid of the type fit for consumption, such as water. fruit juices, soft drinks, liqueurs, etc., and the said mouthpiece (3) is composed of a stopper (30) consisting of a disk envisaged to cover the upper part of the body (2) with a small, internally hollow projection (31 ) - envisaged to fit into the through-hole of the body (2) - on one side and an internally hollow cylindrical portion (32) on the other side, which is the part that is placed in the user's mouth. In particular, in addition to performing the function of a tube for drinking a beverage via suction, the drinking straw also allows the said beverage to be cooled, being used instead of conventional ice cubes or in combination therewith; above all, however, the said drinking straw allows the liquid to be kept cooled and/or to be cooled also when running through the body 2 composed of frozen liquid, which means a consumer ingests a perfectly cool or cold drink.

Inventors:
BARLOTTINI GIANLUCA (IT)
STUPAZZINI MAURO (IT)
Application Number:
IT2019/000070
Publication Date:
March 19, 2020
Filing Date:
September 06, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BARLOTTINI GIANLUCA (IT)
STUPAZZINI MAURO (IT)
International Classes:
A47G21/18; F25D3/08
Foreign References:
BE1007705A61995-10-03
CN201840241U2011-05-25
CN201452638U2010-05-12
KR20170017405A2017-02-15
DE202005010735U12006-01-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MALGARINI, Lucia (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 ) A drinking straw and method for the production thereof characterised by the fact that the said drinking straw is essentially constituted of a body (2) endowed with a hole (20) which runs therethrough and a mouthpiece (3) provided for engaging therewith at one end of the body, wherein the said body (2) consists of a frozen liquid of the type fit for consumption, such as water, fruit j uices, soft drinks, liqueurs, etc. , and the said mouthpiece (3) is composed of a stopper (30) consisting of a disk envisaged to cover the upper part of the body (2) with a small, internally hollow proj ection (3 1 ) - envisaged to fit into the through-hole of the body (2) - on one side and an internally hollow cylindrical portion (32) on the other side, which is the part that is placed in the user's mouth, the said drinking straw (as well as performing the task of a tube with which to drink a beverage) being designed to cool the said beverage, instead of conventional ice cubes or in combination therewith, but above all to keep the beverage cool and/or to cool the beverage even during the passage into the body (2), as result of which the consumer ingests a perfectly cool or cold beverage.

2) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said mouthpiece (3 ) features the stopper (30) configured as a truncated cone from which the small hollow proj ection (3 1 ) runs at the lower end thereof and the cylindrical hollow portion (32) is on the opposite side, the said portion either being linear or having a certain angle, so as to be more comfortable during the drinking of the beverage.

3) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said mouthpiece (3 ) features the stopper (30) consisting of a disk (30a) equipped with side walls (30b) arranged so as to fit into the upper end of the body (2) and features the small hollow proj ection (3 1 ) and the portion (32).

4) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said frozen liquid is iced water, which may be either plain or have flavourings, food colourings, or essences added to give it a particular taste, etc. or liquids fit for consumption, which besides cooling or maintaining the temperature of the beverage placed in a glass (4) - modify the flavour thereof or simply lend flavour thereto, providing an unexpected, pleasant sensation with each sip.

5) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said body (2) has a cylindrical configuration with the through-hole (20) running along the axis of the cylinder or a curvilinear cylindrical configuration or any other configuration, including a particular shape, but always endowed with a through-hole that runs through the entire body for the passage of the beverage.

6) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said mouthpiece (3) is made of plastic, of biodegradable plastic, paper, or any other material suitable for contact with food substances and to be placed in the user's mouth. 7) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that, with the passage of the beverage through the frozen body, the said beverage maintains that ideal temperature to remain cool, since the heat exchange between the liquid and the ice or other frozen liquid occurs as a result of suction by the user.

8) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said body (2) features various shapes and different colours which allow the glass (4) to be customised and embellished and a cocktail, for example, or simply a glass of water, to be made more special and original.

9) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that, since constituted of a frozen liquid, the said body is totally eco-sustainable has a very long shelf-life, and does not pose storage problems.

10) A drinking straw according to Claim 1 , characterised by the fact that said body (2) is produced:

- by means of a rigid silicone mould divided into two parts: an external mould and an internal core; the latter can be extracted due to the fact that the constituent material prevents the liquid adhering thereto;

-by means of thermoformed bags equipped with an inflated internal core, wherein once the bag acting as a mould is full of liquid and the liquid has been frozen, one simply has to deflate the core and remove the external bag;

- by means of containment bags sealed along three sides and endowed with an internal core formed of a pair of round centring devices, bored centrally so as to house an internally hollow tube whose diameter is equal to the size of the hole in the body, wherein the core thus configured is inserted in the liquid-filled bag, left to freeze and ~ in order to be able to use the body, once the liquid is frozen - one simply opens the bag, removes a centring device from the tube and - gripping the other centring device - removes the tube from the body;

by means of a mould comprising two identical sections extending along the length of the drinking straw, wherein the two halves of the straw obtained in this way are then joined together with a subsequent freezing operation.

Description:
DESCRIPTION

"DRINKING STRAW AND METHOD FOR THE PRODUCTION

THEREOF"

Technical field

The present invention relates to a drinking straw which is particularly suitable for combining the suction and simultaneous cooling of liquids, as well as being decidedly kind to the environment.

Background Art

As is known, a drinking straw is a tool used for drinking. A drinking straw is a tube which allows you to drink drinks without your lips coming into contact with the container.

Nowadays, in the majority of cases, drinking straws are made of plastic; they come in a range of different sizes depending on the use and are disposable.

More in detail, drinking straws used in bars are generally twenty centimetres long although they vary in length and have diameters ranging from 3 to 8 mm depending on the drink type and density.

In particular, there are also individually wrapped straws available, to safeguard hygiene.

In general, drinking straws are straight, but there are also straws featuring an upper end which can be folded by 1 80 degrees using folds created in the straws: this allows them to occupy less space and makes them more convenient to use.

In addition to the explanations so far, drinking straws were invented in the 1960s to make beverages more colourful and are used for a very short space of time and then thrown away immediately afterwards, having an average working life of no more than 20 minutes; the figure that really counts, however, is the number of years required for a drinking straw to be broken down by the environment, which is in the hundreds.

Every day around a billion drinking straws are used worldwide and it is estimated that around two billion drinking straws are consumed each year in Italy alone (data source: Eunomia). Drinking straws have been classified as the fifth most common item of pollution found on beaches. It takes about 500 years for a drinking straw to be broken down completely.

It has been found that drinking straws end up on the beaches and in the seas, causing serious consequences for the marine environment. Once in the water, they break down into microfragments, which are then likely to be ingested by fish, returning then to our food chain with serious consequences.

At the same time, many birds and marine animals die each year from ingesting plastic.

In particular, the greatest damage to the environment seems to come from precisely these plastic drinking straws, which are increasing the amount of plastic produced worldwide.

Furthermore, drinking straws are disposable and it is well known that disposable plastics are not recyclable and, consequently, they are destined to remain in landfills for decades.

Given all the problems set out above, a campaign is underway calling for the abolition of plastic drinking straws and the discontinued use thereof could pave the way for the discontinuance of other disposable utensils and accessories, which would result in a marked reduction in highly polluting plastics.

In addition to the explanations so far, there are currently paper straws available but these have proved to be too delicate and not durable due to the fact that, if you don't drink quickly enough, you may not be able to use them as the paper becomes soaked, loses rigidity, and becomes unusable and, moreover, it may release its constituent substances, which could alter the drink.

There are also metal straws available which are effective but very expensive and must be washed and sterilised with each use and, since the diameter of the inner hole is very small, it is not always possible to clean them effectively. Furthermore, nowadays, people prefer to use disposable drinking straws for cleanliness, hygiene, and sterility reasons, as drinking straws are brought up to and placed inside the mouth.

There are straws available on the market made from natural bioplastic derived from corn starches and other crops, from cellulose pulp obtained from sugar cane and bamboo fibres, from palm leaves, and - finally - from birch and poplar wood. These drinking straws are completely biodegradable and compostable, but have rather high costs due to the type of processing required by the constituent materials. In particular, one drawback encountered is due to the fact that, since they are biodegradable, they tend to change and break down very quickly due to the passage of liquids, especially if they are hot, with the risk that the drinking straw's constituent substances may alter both the taste and composition of the drink. As mentioned above, many people feel the need to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the use of plastic drinking straws, also because they are often wasted. For example: think about the last time you went to a pub and bought a cocktail. You will no doubt have two drinking straws in the drink, but the bar tender will have already used another to taste your drink to make sure the flavour was right. It is also extremely common to see a waiter place a handful of straws on the table, which, if not used, could also end up being thrown away.

In addition to the explanations so far, nowadays, there is considerable attention focused on safeguarding and respecting the environment and, consequently to the materials that pollute it, many people have become particularly demanding and are no longer willing to use a product that is not of the desired type and is not kind to nature.

Disclosure of Invention

The object of the present invention is essentially to solve the problems encountered with the commonly known technique, overcoming the said drawbacks by means of a drinking straw that is environmentally sustainable, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly.

A second obj ect of the present invention is to provide a drinking straw which allows to the suction of liquids to be combined with the simultaneous cooling thereof.

A further obj ect of the present invention is to offer a straw for beverages which allows considerable customisation of colours and shapes, and also optimal simplicity of use.

A further obj ect of the present invention is to offer a drinking straw which has a working life corresponding to the time of use. A further object of the present invention is to offer a drinking straw and method for the production thereof which can be obtained both for production at home and for large-scale production.

A further but not final aim of the present invention is to produce a drinking straw which is easy to manufacture and works well.

These aims and others besides, which will better emerge over the course of the present description, are essentially achieved by means of a drinking straw and method of production thereof, as outlined in the claims below.

Brief Description of Drawings

Further characteristics and advantages will better emerge in the detailed description of a drinking straw and method for the production thereof, with reference to the accompanying drawings, provided in the form of a non-limiting example, in which:

Figure 1 shows, schematically and from a perspective front view, a drinking straw according to the present invention;

Figure 2 shows, schematically, a perspective side view of the drinking straw in Figure 1 ;

- Figure 3 shows, schematically, a section view of the drinking straw in Figure 1 ;

- Figure 4 shows, schematically, a section view of the drinking straw in Figure 2;

Figures 5A and 5B show, schematically and in two different perspective views, a component of the drinking straw in question; Figures 6A and 6B show, schematically and in two different perspective views, a first variant of the component of the drinking straw; Figures 7A and 7B show schematically and in two different perspective views, a further variant of the component of the drinking straw;

With reference to the figures, 1 denotes, as a whole, a drinking straw according to the present invention.

Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention

The drinking straw in question is essentially constituted of a body 2 featuring a through-hole 20 and a mouthpiece 3 designed to engage therewith at one end of the body.

In more detail and as shown in Figure 2, the body 2 preferably features a cylindrical configuration with the through-hole 20 running along the axis of the cylinder.

Moreover, the body 2 may feature a curvilinear cylindrical configuration or any configuration, even a decorative configuration, but is always endowed with a through-hole that runs through the entire body.

In addition, the body 2 may feature various shapes and different colours which allow the user to customise and embellish a glass 4 and to make a cocktail or simply a glass of water more unusual and original.

As mentioned earlier, the body 2 consists of frozen water, which may be normal water or water with substances added such as flavourings, food colourings, or essences, which give the said water a particular flavour, etc.

In particular, since the body is made of simply frozen water, it is completely environmentally sustainable and has a very long shelf life which means it does not pose any storage problems. In accordance with the present invention, as well as ice, the body 2 may also be composed of a different frozen liquid, as long as the said liquid is a liquid of the type fit for consumption, such as liqueurs, fruit juices, soft drinks, etc.

As mentioned earlier, the drinking straw comprises a mouthpiece 3 made of plastic, of biodegradable plastic, paper, or any other material suitable for contact with food substances and to be placed in the user's mouth.

More in detail and as shown in Figures 5A and 5B, the mouthpiece 3 is composed of a stopper 30 consisting of a disk provided to cover the upper part of the body 2, as shown in Figure 2, with a small proj ection 3 1 designed to fit into the through-hole in the body 2 on one side and a cylindrical portion 32 on the other side, which is the part which is brought up to the mouth.

A first variant of the mouthpiece according to the invention, shown in Figures 6A and 6B, features the stopper 30, configured as a truncated cone from whose lower end the small hollow proj ection 3 1 runs, and the cylindrical hollow portion 32 on the opposite side, the said portion either being linear or having a certain angle, so as to be more comfortable during suction of the beverage,

In accordance with the present invention and as shown in Figures 7A and 7B, the mouthpiece 3 features the stopper, which is constituted of a disk 30a featuring side walls 30b which are designed to be inserted in the upper end of the body 2. Similarly to the previous mouthpieces, it features the small projection 3 1 and the portion 32.

More in detail, the mouthpiece 3 is small in size so the amount of constituent plastic is considerably contained; this allows an extremely limited release of substances typical of the material, which only occurs - during suction - in the cylindrical portion stretch and only for the time during which it transits in the said section. Furthermore, it prevents the plastic material from coming into contact with the drinks in the glass, as instead occurs with drinking straws at present, which can release greater amounts of substances and for a decidedly longer time.

Moreover, when the mouthpiece 3 is made of disposable plastic it poses the same pollution problems as drinking straws at present, but, as the said mouthpiece is very small, the amount of polluting material is decidedly lower than in drinking straws at present, resulting in a drastic reduction (over 75% less) in the plastic used. When is made of biodegradable plastic or paper, the said drinking straw is completely environmentally sustainable and may be disposed of with food waste.

In particular, the drinking straw in question, in addition to performing the function of a tube for drinking a beverage via suction, also allows the said beverage to be cooled, being used instead of conventional ice cubes or in combination therewith; above all, however, the said drinking straw allows the liquid to be kept cooled and/or to be cooled also when running through the body 2 composed of frozen liquid, which means a consumer ingests a perfectly cool or cold drink. This passage through the body ensures all the characteristics of the drink in the glass remain unaltered, unlike drinking straws in use at present which, instead allow heat exchange with the surrounding environment. Indeed, if a beverage is not consumed within a short space of time, it can heat up and change in both composition and taste, with the result that when the consumer drinks it, the said beverage no longer has the same taste as with the first sips. With the passage of the beverage through the frozen body, the drinking straw in question keeps the beverage at the ideal temperature given that the straw keeps it cool, since the heat exchange between the liquid and the ice or other frozen liquid occurs as a result of suction by the user.

In addition to the explanations so far and as mentioned earlier, instead of the water/ice to cool the beverage, one variant of the body features the use of other food liquids which, in addition to cooling or maintaining the temperature of the beverage placed in glass 4, allow the user to either modify the flavour of or lend flavour to the beverage, offering the consumer an unexpected, pleasant sensation with each sip.

Moreover, to assess the effectiveness and working life of the drinking straw according to the present invention, various tests have been carried out and the table below provides examples of the working life of the body 2 when immersed in different types of liquids and liquids with different temperatures.

As can be seen from the data in the table, the length of the "working life" of the body 2 varies considerably and depends on the temperature of the beverage and on the presence or absence of ice inside the glass, but also on the temperature of the environment in which the said beverage is located.

According to the present embodiment, the body 2 of the drinking straw is produced using a rigid silicone mould divided into two parts: an external mould and an internal core; the latter may be removed due to the fact that the constituent material prevents water adhering to it and above all other materials filling the gaps present, which would form a joint between the internal core and the outer shell.

A further way to obtain the body is through the use of thermoformed bags endowed with an inflated inner core; once the bag acting as a mould is full of liquid and the liquid freezing stage is complete, you simply have to deflate the core and remove the external bag.

A further way to produce the body with bags is through the use of containment bags sealed on three sides and endowed with an internal core formed of a pair of centring rods with a central bore to accommodate an internally hollow tube whose diameter is the same size as the hole in the body. In more detail, the core thus configured is inserted into the bag, which is then filled with liquid which is subsequently frozen. To be able to use the body once the liquid has frozen, the user simply opens the bag, removes a centring device from the tube, and - holding the other centring device - removes the tube from the body.

A different production method involves the use of a mould comprising two identical sections extending along the length of the drinking straw, wherein the two halves of the straw obtained in this way are then joined together with a subsequent freezing operation. The drinking straw in question is mainly suitable for use in public food- serving venues, such as restaurants, hotels, cafes, sandwich bars, etc., but also for home use.

After this structural description, the operation of the invention in question will now be outlined.

After preparing a cocktail or other beverage and when needing to add a straw to serve the aforesaid cocktail or other beverage to a consumer, the user simply has to remove the body from the freezer where it is kept in bags or in special containers or moulds and insert it in the glass (after inserting the small proj ection in the hole and made the stopper adhere to the body).

Naturally, the user can use drinking straws whose body is made of ice or other frozen liquid and plastic mouthpieces or other material suitable for the purpose.

Thus the present invention achieves the aims set.

Indeed, the drinking straw in question offers a different way of using ice or other frozen liquid and allows constant cooling or maintaining of the temperature of the beverage for as long as it is sipped.

Advantageously, the drinking straw according to the present invention is environmentally sustainable and kind to the environment, resulting in drastically reduced - if not eliminated - use of disposable plastic waste, which is highly polluting.

One advantage encountered with the drinking straw in question consists of the fact that the straw is able to combine the suction and simultaneous cooling of liquids. In addition to the explanations so far, the drinking straw allows remarkable customisation of colours and shapes and also optimal ease of use since, as described earlier, in addition to the cylindrical shape, the body can be given the most imaginative configurations, such as: motifs, small animals, flowers, objects of various kinds, etc. allowing the user to create very unusual and original designs that would allow them to diversify and distinguish one venue from another or one cocktail from another. Furthermore, in addition to the shape, the colours may be varied by using coloured liquids or adding food colourings when making the body.

A further advantage is that the drinking straw has a working life which corresponds to the time of it is in use.

Furthermore, the drinking straw according to the present invention advantageously allows the user to completely overcome all those drawbacks posed by drinking straws at present.

Indeed, the production of the drinking straws in question allows the user to have multiple types of straws available thereto, in terms of both the shape and the colour of the constituent liquid of the body at the same time, so as to be able to adapt them to the type of use, whether at home or in a public venue and, furthermore, to have a product which is always ready and with different features, such condition being practically impossible to obtain and have with the drinking straws at present.

A further advantage of the present drinking straw emerges from the fact that it makes it possible to transform a standard disposable utensil into an unusual and original product, making it a further symbol of Italian imagination and creativity and Italy production quality. As mentioned earlier, constant attention to the needs and expectations of increasingly demanding consumers has led to the creation of a drinking straw, which is always ready, usable, and very practical and is furthermore original, kind to the environment and environmentally sustainable.

A further but not final advantage of the present invention is that the said system proves to be remarkably easy to use, easy to manufacture, and works well.

Naturally, further modifications or variants may be applied to the present invention while remaining within the scope of the invention that characterises it.