RECLAIM – a serious sanitation game

Last changed: 31 May 2023

The SPANS project (Sanitation Planning for Alternative Nutrient-recovery Systems) has developed a serious game as a way of informing decision-making in sanitation planning incorporating the recycling of nutrient resources.

Poor sanitation and mismanagement of fertilizing nutrients have major negative impacts on the lives of millions of people around the world, including disease and pollution of our waterways. However, with proper management, we can reduce disease and recover valuable fertilizing products, water and energy. Safe management of sanitation waste can thus protect health and the environment, as well as increase food security. We have designed a game that captures the decision-making challenges in the sanitation service chain and inspires players to build more sustainable systems in a collaborative manner.

The game shares knowledge about resource recovery from sanitation and supports attitude change and cooperation between players. The game has been tested with decision-makers and university students in Uganda and Sweden. Participants have found the game both fun and useful for discussing challenges in sanitation planning.

Basic game concepts:

  • Four players play both against each other and against the game.
  • A game consists of 4 rounds, and takes approximately 2 hours.
  • The game covers the sanitation service chain:
    • Housing blocks in the game need food and produce waste (mixed or separated).
    • Treatment plants in the game treat waste and convert it into sludge or NPK (fertilizer).
    • Farms use NPK to make food that is sent to the housing blocks.
    • Roads, pipes or trucks are needed for transporting resources.
  • The player with the most points at the end wins, provided that the players have not collectively lost against the game, by having created too much pollution, disease or hunger.

Short film

Introducing RECLAIM - a serious sanitation game for resource recovery


The RECLAIM game is available online for printing and use according to principles of Open Access at:



RECLAIM - a collaborative resource-recovery game for urban sanitation planning