Apple files for patent on paper bag

Apple believes it's invented a better bag made from recycled paper

Apple patent for paper bag
(US Patent Office)

CUPERTINO, CA (WCMH) — Apple believes it has created a better paper bag.

In a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last Thursday, Apple described a paper retail shopping bag containing at least 60% post-consumer content.

Due to the shortened fibers and the amount of bleach used in their production, paper bags made from recycled material can be significantly weaker than those produced from new paper.

Generally, the greater the proportion of post-consumer content in white or SBS paper, the weaker the paper (e.g., the paper will more easily tear (including scoring or cracking)). For this reason, conventional bags formed of SBS paper are made with 50% or less post-consumer content (usually 40% or less), since SBS paper having greater than 40% or 50% post-consumer content would conventionally be considered too weak (e.g., prone to tearing) for use in a bag, particularly a bag with multiple folds such as corner folds or expansion folds that give it shape or allow it to expand from a flat configuration to an open configuration.

To strengthen areas of the bag container, such as folds or gussets at its corners or edges, in some embodiments of the present invention reinforcement inserts may be applied to such areas. The reinforcement inserts may be formed of the same material as the bag container (e.g., SBS with at least 60% post-consumer content). Such reinforcement inserts can augment the strength and resistance to tearing of the bag container material to make it structurally suitable for use as a bag, thereby increasing the amount of post-consumer content usable in an SBS paper bag. This can help to reduce any environmental impact from production, use, and disposal of the bag.

The patent application goes on to describe the addition of reinforcement inserts to increase the strength of the bag.

An eight-stitch pattern is also described for holding the handle, also made from paper fibers, to the bag.

The knitted construction of bag handle… gives it a soft feel and high flexibility similar to a textile, such as a shoelace, rather than the stiffness conventionally associated with paper.

Filing for a patent is not a guarantee Apple will receive a patent on its recycled-paper bag. According to the USPTO, it’ll be 18 months until an examiner finishes their report on the patent application’s merits.

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