Non-Renewable Resources

Definition of Non-renewable/depletable Resources

An economic resource that cannot be replaced once used.

Examples of non-renewable resources include:

  • Oil
  • Coal
  • Minerals like zinc, magnesium, lithium.
  • Clean Water supplies – clean water is potentially non-renewable. For example, radiation from a nuclear power plant disaster could make water radioactive for generations.
  • Genetic Pool. If species become extinct then we lose their unique genes and chance to use that in medicines.

Potentially renewable

Some resources are potentially renewable, but, overconsumption could also permanently deplete them. For example, fish stocks are generally renewable. However, if there is over-fishing then a species could be made extinct in a certain way.

Something like oil and coal take millions of years to form so are for all intents and purposes non-renewable once stocks are used.


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