Here in the United States, almost every container that food or drinks come in are either put into landfills or recycled by using more energy to melt down and make them into new containers. In the days when we didn't throw everything away, we reused milk, soda bottles, etc. The problem with the old system was that every company used their own style of container even though the sizes were the same. This system made collecting bottles very time consuming.
My idea proposes that we use standard shaped containers with different company labels. This way, any 12 oz beer bottle can be used by any beer company, any soda bottle could be used any soda company, and so on. We would need only a few differently-sized bottles to cover all of the companies' packaging and processing needs. As a result, the bottles would be extremely reusable and more incentive could be placed on collecting and recycling them. Companies could use a deposit system, where they would pick up empty bottles as they drop off full bottles full of new products. Other companies could get their bottles from independent collectors, and some companies could buy new bottles or jars. If for some reason a company doesn't want to use the system, they would be required to pay some type of surcharge for their waste or resources. If this system was put into place, it would do wonder for the Earth.
Photo credit to James Cridland.