Before the Big Box stores like Staples came to town, most people in Canada got their office supplies at Grand & Toy. When I was a kid I always searched in vain for the toys; in fact, it was one of the founding partners' names. It's now owned by Officemax. They do a lot of corporate work, and make a lot of deliveries, which uses up a lot of cardboard boxes.
Now they have introduced the boomerang box, one of those simple and logical ideas that you just wonder why it took so long for someone to figure it out. The box has a tapered bottom so that it can be stacked easily without being flattened, and a permanent bar code so that it can be tracked. When Grand & Toy makes another delivery it picks up the boxes. It has reduced box consumption by 80% for the businesses that participated in the trial, and saved 46,000 boxes.
Everybody feels good about recycling, and every company flattens and recycles cardboard boxes. But this kind of producer responsibility from Grand & Toy is a demonstration of how good design can make it easy to reuse. A much better idea. More at Grand & Toy.
UPDATE: OfficeMax has been rolling this out in the USA as well.