While browsing the net, I was surprised to see a lot of clever crafts and creations that were made from used consumables particularly those empty printer ink cartridges. Here are some of the best upcycling ideas that I've found:
Epson ink cartridges turn into a lighting fixture.
Lowell and Louise, the artists behind the colorful and fancy small chandelier. They make use of various ink cartridges, arranged it into a circular shape like a lamp cover, then hang it using an aluminum bar screwed on a chain. Since the cartridges were already empty, once the bulb at the center lights on it creates a luminous effect. Actually the couple didn't remove the brand stickers which makes the light a little bit dim. However the color of each ink cartridges creates a subtle variation, so therefore I agree on not removing the stickers.
Discarded printer cartridges turn into a bike path.
Way back 2010, Australian National Park Service created a bike path made entirely of worn out ink cartridges. It reaches 10.6 mile that stretches along the northwest territory of Australia between Alice Springs and Simpsons Gap. Although it cost them about $330,000 to finish it up, the remarkable experience of every bikers that crosses and appreciates it is priceless.
Empty HP ink cartridges turn into a USB drive.
Actually it was just a do-it-yourself craft that anyone can do with their USBs and printer cartridges. If you're interested on doing it, check out this link Printer Cartridge USB Drive. It's plain and simple, just make a hole on the opposite side of the cartridge where the chip is embedded, punch it or hammer it, your choice. Make sure the hole is large enough so you can insert the USB drive. Try to make the hole in a rectangular shape, then put the USB drive inside the cartridge and let the metal part (the one you plug into the port) out. Glue it and make it secure so you can hold the cartridge like it's the main USB itself.
Who said that upcycling is a hefty task? Imagine thousands of printer cartridges are just being dumped in the landfills, and just a small fraction of them are being recycled. Aside from those recycling organizations and facilities that accept returned printer consumables, indeed they help on reusing plastic materials by providing recycled toner cartridges and ink cartridges. But still there's a huge number of discarded ink and toner cartridges that end up in incinerators and mostly in the landfills.