Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Circular and Bio-Based Solutions for the Ultimate Prevention of Plastics in Rivers Integrated with Elimination And Monitoring Technologies

Project description

Innovative solutions to deal with plastics in European rivers

The increasing presence of litter, plastics, and microplastics is causing further deterioration of European rivers. Consequently, it is necessary to develop new methods to control, prevent, and eliminate this pollution. The EU-funded UPSTREAM project is dedicated to addressing the challenges associated with monitoring, preventing, eliminating, and recycling litter, plastics, and microplastics. The project will showcase 14 solutions implemented at five European demonstration sites. These sites include four wastewater treatment plants connected to seven rivers in five countries, as well as a testing area on the Danube in Serbia. Additionally, the project will facilitate the creation of an extensive database of knowledge and sustainable business models, with a focus on ensuring wide accessibility to this information. Replication across Europe will be enhanced by EUR 300k allocated in cascade funding.


UPSTREAM addresses the targets of the Mission by overcoming challenges related to the monitoring, prevention, elimination, and valorisation of litter (L), plastics (P), and microplastics (MP). Demonstrating a suite of 14 solutions addressing pollution at every step in the water system, connected to 7 rivers in 5 countries, will enable the co-creation of an extensive database of knowledge and sustainable business models with a focus on making information as widely accessible as possible. The involvement of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) owners, industrial partners with existing supply chains, innovative SMEs, and a water cluster association will ensure exploitation of the project solutions, while €500k in cascade funding will enhance replication across Europe. The UPSTREAM consortium will thus establish circular value chains with the potential to decrease plastic litter by 50% and MP pollution by 30%.
The advances in UPSTREAM are based on best-in-world innovations, including:
• Standardised, rapid monitoring techniques able to detect MP down to sizes >25 μm
• Bio-based, biodegradable plastics the stop the formation of MP in consumer products and WWTPs themselves
• Elimination of more than 90% MP within WWTPs from both sludge and effluent streams
• Innovative floating platforms capable of removing >83% of L, P, and MP directly from rivers at both the surface and riverbed, without creating noise pollution or harming ecosystems
• Production of relevant monomers from recovered plastics through both advanced fractionation and depolymerisation and biotransformation
UPSTREAM represents a pan-European consortium with 5 demo sites across Europe, including 4 WWTPs (UK, ES, DE, IT), plus a testing area on the Danube in Serbia. The consortium is strengthened by top European RTOs, the world leader in sustainable bioplastics development, Novamont, and completed by partners dedicated to creating a digital knowledge sharing platform and engaging with citizens and stakeholders.



Net EU contribution
€ 836 000,00
Poligono empresarium, calle romero n 12-14
50720 Zaragoza

See on map

Noreste Aragón Zaragoza
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (15)

Partners (6)