A Green Revolution At MacArthur Glen Designer Outlet

by Anna de la Vega

No greenwashing here,  McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands are leading the worm way, and we hope many others will follow in their footsteps. Whilst as individuals we can certainly address our own personal household waste, the hospitability industry is another mountain to climb, and we are beyond thrilled to be working in partnership with Urban Planters to bring the worms to one of the most unlikely of places.

The Urban Worm install a bin at Slim Chickens

The UK hospitality industry throws an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of food waste into landfill every year. This is a significant contributor to environmental degradation, considering food waste emits the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, that are 31 and 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide. The transportation of this waste is further dependant on fossil fuel reliant vehicles, contributing to toxic air pollution and the releasing of carbon dioxide.  For every 100kg of food waste, 190.00kg of CO2-e is produced, the equivalent of 16.96 days of electricity for 1 household[1].

Setting up the bins with a green waste starter

Urban Planters Ltd , the progressive company responsible for managing the grounds initiated the introduction of worm farms onsite as a means to compost the waste generated from the restaurants.  The worm farms provide a regenerative method for managing waste whilst supplying a source of nutrient dense fertiliser and compost,  a welcomed alternative to peat. With this said the sale of peat will be banned by 2024, making an alternative not only desirable but necessary.

The benefits will really come into fruition next year when the worm farms will be ready for their first harvest and the grounds will be supplied with super local  fertiliser and compost. Worm manure retains 50% moisture which is particularly useful for hanging baskets and vertical gardens that suffer the most from drying out.  Having worm manure in the planting beds further provides resilience against heavy rainfall, reducing the risk of flooding.

The success of large scale worm farming is dependent on the engagement  from those that are responsible for keeping the worms fed. Worms have a large appetite and can consume up to half their body weight a day in organic waste, however they do have preferences and citrus and oily foods must be kept out of the worm farm.   There are six 1100 Litre worm farms  onsite,  with each worm farm housing 5 kilos of worms, processing a total of  15  kilos of food waste every day. The staff at Wagamama’s and Slim Chicken’s embraced the worms with open arms,  and we can rest knowing that the worms are loved and well fed.

The Urban Worm is thrilled to be able to support McArthurGlen Designer Outlet to make positive change, although perhaps one of the most unlikely of places to have 1000’s of worms,  we hope other establishments  will follow suit,  and we will be here to provide support when they do.


The Wagamama team feed the worms a gourmet lunch



[1] https://watchmywaste.com.au/food-waste-greenhouse-gas-calculator/