10 Examples of Non-Renewable Resources

Human society depends on both non-renewable and renewable energy sources to run daily.

Renewable resources can naturally regenerate themselves, whereas non-renewable resources cannot, which is how these two types of resources vary from one another.

Resources with expiration dates that are not renewable are essential to our society.

Promoting alternate energy sources, such as renewable sources like solar and wind power, is crucial for this reason.

One of the keys to a sustainable future is reducing our reliance on non-renewable resources and increasing our use of renewable energy.

This movement encompasses daily decisions that people and organizations may make as well as significant, far-reaching structural changes like the Paris Agreement.

You can limit your use of non-renewable resources by taking smaller-scale measures like adopting energy-efficient appliances, driving electric and hybrid vehicles, placing solar panels on your home and business, and adequately insulating both.

What are Non-Renewable Resources?

A natural resource that is situated underground and is considered non-renewable does not refill as quickly as it is used up.

The development of the resources often takes millions of years.

Fuels like oil, coal and natural gas are the principal examples of non-renewable resources because they are used frequently by people to generate energy.

Non-renewable resources, according to the US Energy Information Administration, are those that cannot be replenished quickly enough to meet demand.

These materials were created from organic material that was once part of extinct plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.

The materials need millions of years to replace themselves because it took millions of years for them to develop.

Examples of Non-Renewable Resources

The following are 10 examples of non-renewable resources

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Natural Gas
  • Peat
  • Sand
  • Uranium
  • Gold
  • Aluminum
  • Iron
  • Rock Phosphate

1. Coal

One of the most famous fossil fuels and a main source of energy is coal.

A solid fossil fuel called coal is used to power factories and heat homes.

It can be discovered in marshes that have been petrified and buried under sedimentary rock.

Coal must be dug up from the ground because it cannot be extracted like crude oil or natural gas because it is solid.

It consists of carbon-rich material which was formed by swamps and plant material covered with water that later dried out giving rise to sedimentary material.

It is also used for electricity generation using steam.

The steam formed from boiling huge quantities of water turns large turbines which relay energy to generators to produce electricity.

The energy in coal comes from the chemical energy between hydrocarbon and oxygen bonds.

This break releases high levels of thermal energy.

Coal is considered a non-renewable resource because we can’t replicate the environment (Very high temperature and pressure) in which it was initially formed.

Plus, it takes millions of years for it to be produced in the first place!

It is made up of carbon-rich sedimentary material that was created by marshes and plant material that was submerged in water and then dried off.

Additionally, steam is used to generate energy with it.

Large turbines are turned by the steam produced when enormous amounts of water are boiled, and the energy they transmit to generators is used to create electricity.

The chemical energy between bonds between hydrocarbon and oxygen in coal is what gives it its energy.

These split open to release a lot of thermal energy.

Because we are unable to recreate the conditions (very high temperature and pressure) under which coal was initially created, it is thought to be a non-renewable resource.

In addition, it takes millions of years to even begin to make it!

2. Oil

One of the most popular non-renewable energy sources is oil. Along with coal, it serves as a primary energy source.

Crude oil is a kind of oil, a liquid fossil fuel that is obtained from the earth.

Following that, it is divided into numerous distinct types of oil (such as diesel) via the fractional distillation process.

Every kind of oil performs a variety of purposes. For instance, we use gasoline to power our cars and cooking oil to prepare food.

The problem with oil is that it is rapidly running out at a rate that makes it nearly difficult to refill.

This suggests that soon, even Mother Earth might run out of oil.

3. Natural Gas

Another sort of fossil fuel is natural gas. It is made of biological material that was deposited on the ocean floor 300 million years ago by the remains of microscopic marine animals.

The granite strata above the sediments grew thicker by hundreds of feet over time.

Over the biological matter’s energetic content, these layers increased pressure.

The organic mixture was transformed into oil and natural gas by this pressure and additional subsurface heat.

Natural gas becomes trapped between rock layers and in cracks in porous rocks (like a wet sponge).

Methane, a greenhouse gas, makes up 90% of natural gas. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), water, ethane, butane, and propane are other components.

4. Peat

Another typical fossil fuel is peat. It is utilized in potting and the horticultural industry in addition to being a fuel.

It is a soft, mineral-pitted organic substance that spontaneously occurs.

Peat is a non-renewable energy source due to its long formation time and high rate of consumption.

5. Sand

Sand is the third most utilized natural resource after air and water.

Sand, regrettably, is not renewable either.

Sand is made up of a variety of various minerals and rock deposits that have been crushed into tiny particles.

Sand is extracted for use in oil exploration, glass production, and land reclamation. Sand is frequently utilized in construction as well.

Sand is a component of almost every erected edifice, landmark, and monument.

6. Uranium

Even though uranium—the substance used to create nuclear energy and the fuel for nuclear reactors—is not a renewable energy source, nuclear energy is unquestionably one.

When it comes to nuclear energy, uranium—a radioactive element—is the material that is most frequently used.

Both uranium-235 and uranium-238 are frequently used, however, most nuclear power facilities only employ uranium-235.

7. Gold

A precious metal that is a symbol of power and wealth ever since it came into existence.

Similar to Uranium, it is also of cosmic origin as it was formed through the collision of neutron stars.

Nowadays, about 2,700 tons of gold are mined each year. That’s 2.7 Million Kilos!

In addition to being used as a luxury good, gold is frequently employed in the electronics industry to create computer chips, mobile phones, and other gadgets.

In recent years, gold has also been utilized in the pharmaceutical sector to treat rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis, and is being investigated as a potential cancer treatment.

Solar fuels are also created using gold as a catalyst. This is done to combat the solar panels’ unreliability.

a valuable metal that has been associated with prosperity and power since its creation.

It shares a cosmic origin with uranium because it was created by the collision of neutron stars.

Currently, 2,700 tons of gold are extracted annually. It weighs 2.7 million kg.

When Turkey purchased 148 tons of gold during the first half of 2020, it surpassed Russia as the top gold purchaser.

8. Aluminum

One of the most prevalent elements in the crust of the planet is aluminum. It is primarily found as bauxite ore, which is treated chemically to create the metal form.

Aluminum metal is viewed as a non-renewable resource due to the scarcity of bauxite ore.

Aluminum is utilized in a variety of products that are essential to daily life, including packaging, and the production of airplanes and vehicle parts.

Due to its adaptability, aluminum has a wide range of uses. Over time, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for aluminum.

Its usage and exploitation of it, however, did not begin until the late 19th century.

Compared to other natural resources, aluminum has a clear advantage. It may be completely recycled without sacrificing its original quality.

As a result, the recycling sector has reprocessed a lot of aluminum to meet demand.

9. Iron

The metal is present in the sun, stars, and the center of the earth.

Even our blood contains iron (Not like it exists on the earth, but in the form of minerals). Sadly, it is regarded as a non-renewable energy source because it cannot naturally regenerate.

Iron has been used historically to create various products, including tableware, swords, blades, and other everyday objects.

Stainless steel, which can be used to create a variety of cutting and non-cutting devices, is made from iron.

The majority of the kitchen items are made of iron, so make your way there.

Iron is also a key component of hemoglobin. a substance that transports oxygen throughout our bodies.

Patients with iron deficiency can take iron pills to cure anemia and enhance their diets in general.

The earth’s crust contains a significant amount of iron; in fact, some researchers contend that iron makes up the majority of the crust. Iron is a prevalent element in meteors that hit the planet in large quantities.

10. Rock Phosphate

The primary source of phosphorous production is phosphate rock. It is a crucial nutrient used in agricultural fertilizers.

Our planet’s supply of phosphorus cannot be replaced. Plants simply cannot grow in the absence of sufficient phosphate minerals in the soil.

This is because plants won’t be able to perform photosynthesis, a crucial step in plant growth.

In the fertilizer business, phosphate rock is used in a proportion of 85%. The remainder is used to create a variety of additional vitamins and livestock feed.

For healthy bone formation and maturation, our skeletal system needs an adequate amount of calcium and phosphate.

Without enough phosphate, we may experience health problems like bone abnormalities and children’s growth that are impeded.

Rock phosphate reserves are depleting. We risk substantially undermining our capacity to sustainably feed the population if the resource is not managed.

How to manage Non-Renewable Resources

Here are some strategies for managing our non-renewable resources.

  • Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse
  • Laws and Regulations
  • Mass Transport and Hybrid Vehicles

1. Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse

Some materials can be recycled or reused instead of being disposed of away.

The amount of usage must be reduced for better management and more effective resource use.

Less waste will result from improved efficiency, which is a lifestyle change.

Reusing and recycling are significant methods of resource management as well as pollution prevention.

Destruction of soil and water occurs when materials including plastics, glass, ceramic, oil, porcelain, and metals are disposed of away carelessly.

These dangerous pollutants may also have detrimental consequences on both aquatic and terrestrial life.

Since these substances are inorganic, bacteria cannot degrade them. Recycling and reusing these materials are far preferable to disposal.

For instance, when oils are recycled, many grades of oil with various uses are produced.

Paper waste that is also not biodegradable is recycled and used for a variety of purposes, including tissue paper.

2. Laws and Regulations

The management of resources must prioritize putting laws and regulations into place to prevent resource waste.

People are made aware of the need to protect resources for future generations by these rules and regulations.

People will refrain from resource waste if severe penalties are imposed on those who violate the laws and regulations.

The media and any other platform should be used by the government and commercial entities to promote the value of good resource management.

3. Mass Transport and Hybrid Vehicles

Fossil fuels are used by almost all vehicles to transport people and goods.

A big part of lowering the quantity of petroleum utilized globally is discouraging people from driving their cars.

Because they have a lower person-to-fuel ratio than personal automobiles, buses and trains are viable options.

This prevents the few fossil fuel reserves that are still accessible from being depleted while also reducing air pollution levels.

Hybrid cars that run on alternative fuels like butanol and ethanol are a good choice for people who don’t like public transportation.

Because they are made from agricultural products like corn, ethanol and butanol are easily accessible.


Though the non-renewable resources available might seem enough for this generation, the current increase in the use of non-renewable resources will disrupt the statistics.

Moreso, non-renewable affect our ecosystem and has been the major cause of climate change and global warming.

If we will still use renewable resources when the non-renewable ones are exhausted and renewable resources are environmentally friendly.

I think it’s better we start using renewable resources for better and sustainable benefit.

Examples of Non-Renewable Resources – FAQs

What happens when a nonrenewable resource is exhausted?

When the non-renewable resources available on earth finish, people will obviously start using renewable resources.


Editor at EnvironmentGo! | providenceamaechi0@gmail.com | + posts

A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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