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The morning office coffee run led to an award winning sustainable business


Stay tray sustainable business

Kate Stewart is the Founder and Managing Director of Stay tray who discovered a gap in the reusable coffee cup market. Prior to forming the company, Kate commuted a 3-hour round journey from the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne for 17 years. She would leave every day at 5:00 a.m. before her children were even up. Those were some extremely long days, so she would find a nearby café open on her way to work and drink a couple more coffees to get through the day.


She was not arriving home until at least 6:30 p.m. The best she could aspire for throughout the week was to get home in time to put her kids to bed. Weekends were fun, but there wasn't enough quality time with her family.


One morning, Kate and a colleague went to the neighbourhood cafe with six reusable coffee cups in hand. On her walk to the coffee shop, she was juggling six empty recyclable cups. The barista asked whether they wanted a cup tray to transport the six steaming coffees back to the office. Kate realised how ironic that was. They were there, carrying their reusable coffee cups in a disposable coffee tray. Something that would either be thrown away at the end of the coffee run or, at the very least, would waste energy and water in the recycling process. In the worst-case scenario, the cardboard trays would contribute to the annual 30 per cent of paper waste that is not recycled and ends up in a landfill.


Realising that there was no such thing as a sustainable, multifunctional, reusable drink tray and thousands of individuals use their Keep Cups daily, there are no single-use throwaway options for transporting more than two coffees. It became apparent that a reusable coffee tray would prevent waste from single-use trays.


Stay Tray

Kate thought, what if she could spend more time with her kids and make a positive difference for the environment?


She left her secure corporate role of 17 years to pursue something more fulfilling and more meaningful, something that would make a difference to people and the planet. Stay tray was born.

Stay tray is made to be used every day. The company believes that the little bit we do every day matters because we are doing it together when it comes to environmental sustainability.


Stay tray was designed to reduce single-use consumption of disposable plastic and cardboard trays.


Kate wanted Stay Tray to be 100% Australian-made and owned. Even though engineering and manufacturing Stay Tray abroad would be half the price, she wanted to assist Australian designers, engineers, and manufacturers. All design, engineering, and manufacturing took place within a 60-kilometre radius of Stay Tray's Mornington Peninsula home.


Stay Tray was awarded Winner in the Beverage Category of the WorldStar Packaging Awards in Germany. Stay tray also received B Corp Certification, meaning that Stay Tray meets the highest social and environmental impact standards.