Hilton hotels will remove 5 million straws and 20 million bottles from Europe, Middle East & Africa hotels annually. Picture: Supplied.

Hilton will remove plastic straws from its 650 managed properties by the end of 2018, the hotel chain revealed today.

They said it was its new goal to double its social impact investments and cut its global environmental impact in half by 2030, with the help of science-based targets.

In Europe, Middle East & Africa alone, the commitment will remove more than five million plastic straws and 20 million plastic water bottles annually. They calculated that the straws saved each year in the region would exceed the length of the River Seine.

Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President for Hilton Europe, Middle East & Africa, said as a leading global hospitality company, they had a huge responsibility to take care of natural resources and its communities.

“Through our corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose, we are constantly looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Extending a ban on plastic straws across our managed portfolio is an important move in the right direction, and one which we are committed to building on in the coming years,” he said.

Hilton will remove plastic straws and offer a paper or biodegradable alternative upon request –  an effort the company plans to implement globally across its hotels by the end of 2018. Hilton will also remove plastic water bottles from meetings and events in hotels across the EMEA region, as part of its global Meet with Purpose program to offer socially and environmentally responsible meetings.

The ban on straws is part of a new set of global targets designed to cut Hilton’s environmental footprint in half by 2030 and double its social impact investment around the world. With this commitment, Hilton will become the first major hotel company to institute science-based targets to reduce its carbon emissions and commit to sending zero hotel soap to landfill.

The company will also double the amount it spends with local and minority-owned suppliers, and double its investment in programs to help women and youth around the world. 

Hilton Area Vice President African & Indian Ocean, Jan Van Der Putten, said they were operating in very environmentally sensitive areas in Africa. "In our hotels in the Seychelles we see  the harmful effects and issues caused by using plastics. Not only are we going to remove straws from our hotels and replace them with an option of paper straws but we will also be removing plastic bottles from our conference and meetings offering, promoting the use of recyclable glass bottles. T

"We have already implemented new glass bottles which is something that I’m sure the environment and our guests appreciate. This news coincides with the release of another industry first - Hilton’s 2030 goals which will see the company halve its environmental footprint and double its social impact investment by 2030," he said.