Renewable and nonrenewable resources definition

Most natural resources, such as coal and oil, were formed millions of years ago. Other resources, such as sunlight, were present even before the earth was formed. Regardless, we all depend on these resources in one way or another. These resources are called natural resources and they are very important for life on earth. Natural resources are classified into renewable resources and non-renewable resources. Renewable and nonrenewable resources definition 

Renewable resources Renewable and nonrenewable resources definition 

Resources that cannot be depleted even after continuous use are called renewable resources. Some examples of renewable resources are the sun, wind, and tidal energy.

Nonrenewable resources Renewable and nonrenewable resources definition 

Resources that cannot be replaced immediately once they are depleted are called non-renewable resources. Some examples of non-renewable resources include rare minerals typically found in meteorites and fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas.

Now, let’s take a look at the main difference between renewable resources and non-renewable resources.

Renewable resources vs non-renewable resources

Below are the main differences between renewable and non-renewable resources.

Renewable resources Nonrenewable resources
Exhaustion
Renewable resources cannot be depleted over time Non-renewable resources are depleted over time
Sources
Renewable resources include sunlight, water, wind, and also geothermal sources such as hot springs and fumaroles. Non-renewable energy includes fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
Environmental impact
Most of the renewable resources have low carbon emissions and carbon footprint. Non-renewable energy has a comparatively higher carbon footprint and carbon emissions.
Cost
The initial cost of renewable energy is high, but the “fuel” is free Non-renewable energy has a comparatively higher cost, both in implementation and as ‘fuel’.
Maintenance cost
Very high maintenance cost Comparatively low maintenance cost
Area requirements
Requires a large land / sea area, especially for wind and solar farms Comparatively lower area requirements

Interestingly, some resources, such as uranium, are promoted as a renewable resource. However, it remains a matter of debate as uranium is not exactly a renewable resource by many legal definitions.

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