A European project - Res2ValHUM - is helping to bring new life to degraded land in the Galicia region of Spain and northern Portugal, working to transform and reinvigorate the soil with organic compost and man-made "technosols".
Two university laboratories are working on the project. The two teams meet every three months.
The total budget is 2.1 million euros, of which 1.58 million euros is provided by the European Cohesion Policy.
At the University of Minho, in Braga, Portugal, Maria Fernanda Proença's team is working to see how organic compost might also be used to counteract water pollution.
She told Smart Regions: “Generally, the meetings take place at the project partners’ headquarters. That way we end up knowing everything that is behind the problems the companies face, the problems of our research partners. This has been really great.
“When the green waste is not recycled, it's usually burned. Therefore using that green waste for composting also means avoiding or minimising pollution.
“We are doing tests in order to identify the ability of compost to retain metals and retain medical drugs, which is one of the problems that currently exists as a contaminant in water. And so if this is feasible we will find - or at least help to find - an application that may have a very promising future.”