Buffet Hilton LasVegasHilton Hotels has launched a program to collect safe, surplus food from conferences and daily restaurant operations that would otherwise be thrown away, and provide it to those in need.

A multi-year partnership with The Global FoodBanking Network began a month ago to ensure that hotel food, instead of being wasted, is distributed to local food banks, soup kitchens, and school programs in Egypt. In the U.S. Hilton is partnering with Feeding America on initial pilot programs underway in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Orlando and Kansas City.

“Each year billions of pounds of food go to waste, while at the same time more than 850 million people do not have enough to eat,” said Jennifer Silberman, vice president of corporate responsibility, Hilton Worldwide. “Hilton Worldwide is committed to securing unused food from our hotels and distributing it to local organizations in need across the globe.”

Avoiding food waste in landfills also cuts down on methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

The food donations will further contribute to Hilton Worldwide’s goal of reducing waste output. Already in place is the partnership with the Global Soap Project to recycle and donate hotel soap to vulnerable populations, a donation program to donate reusable goods to charitable organizations and its program to recycle 85% of its mattresses and box springs for reuse as tools, construction materials, carpet padding and flooring. Since 2008, Hilton properties have reduced waste by 23.3 percent.

In the initial year, the program will develop best practices so that eventually Hilton’s more than 3,900 properties across 90 countries will be ready to connect  food donations with opportunities locally.

Pilot activities will focus on:

– optimizing food and beverage operations to minimize food waste
– educating hotels on food banking opportunities
– developing relationships between hotels and local food banks
– establishing systems for donating safe and nutritious food.

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