Melbourne mum, Kate Stewart had a lightbulb moment during a morning coffee run with her work colleague, which led to the creation of an award-winning and sustainable business.

One morning Stewart and her colleague battled to carry six reusable coffee cups to the local café so the barista asked if they would like a cup tray to carry the coffees back to the office, which felt “painfully ironic” to Stewart.

“There we were using reusable coffee cups but carrying them in a disposable coffee tray – something that would be discarded at the end of the coffee run. At best it would consume energy and water in the recycling process, but at worst the cardboard trays would contribute to the 30% of paper waste not recycled and ends up in landfill each year,” she said.

This moment led to Stay Tray, a reusable coffee tray made from 100% recycled plastic – a simple sustainable solution to carrying multiple keep cups. 

“There simply wasn’t a sustainable, versatile reusable drink tray to be found anywhere. Those people, like us, who were sustainably minded, were using disposable cup trays again and again. Thousands of people every day are consciously using their keep cups but are faced with only single use disposable alternatives to transport more than two coffees. We needed a reusable coffee tray,” Stewart explained.

She wanted to keep Stay Tray 100% Australian owned and made, despite it being half the price to engineer and manufacture abroad. All design, engineering and manufacturing has been kept within a 60km radius of Stay Tray’s home on the Mornington Peninsula. 

Stay Tray was awarded Winner in the Beverage Category of the WorldStar Packaging Awards in Germany and awarded Silver in the Packaging Innovation and Design Awards hosted by the Australasian Institute of Packaging.

Stewart developed and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to expand Stay Tray further and the business recently received B Corp Certification. 

“At Stay Tray, we understand that we are a part of something bigger. We have a responsibility to help solve the social and environmental challenges facing the world,” she said.

“B Corporations represent an emerging group of businesses that are dedicated to using the power of business to create a positive impact on the world, not competing to be the best in the world but rather, to be the best for the world.”