How to Manage Non Renewable Resources


Non-renewable resources are those natural resources that cannot be replenished, grown, generated or harvested without depleting the resource. They include fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, metals, such as copper and aluminum, and rare minerals and elements, such as uranium. Some non-renewable resources can be recycled, such as metals. Many, like fossil fuels, are gone forever once they are used, and they are produced naturally much more slowly than they are used. The main goal of any strategy for managing non-renewable resources is to limit the use of those resources through a variety of means.

  • Keep track of the resources you use and which of them are non-renewable. This goes beyond keeping track of how much you drive or what kind of mileage your car gets. These are important to think about, but also consider that every piece of plastic packaging you purchase is also made from fossil fuels. Every product you purchase was transported using fossil fuels, and most food was grown with manmade fertilizers produced by burning fossil fuels. In some regions, groundwater is considered a non-renewable resource because it is being depleted faster than it is replenished by rainfall. Groundwater is sometimes called fossil water for this reason.

  • Drive less, carpool, or switch to public transit and bike or walk whenever possible. Your car consumes non-renewable fossil fuels, and unless the whole body of the car is properly recycled when you're done with it, it also represents a non renewable use of metals. Metals are sometimes classified as renewable resources because they can be recycled readily, but this only holds true if they actually are recycled.

  • Alter your diet. Buy from farmer's markets whenever possible. It takes a lot of non-renewable fuel to transport supermarket food from region to region and country to country. Vegan and vegetarian diets require smaller inputs of fossil fuels. If you aren't willing to make that change, you can also make a big difference in your diet's ecological footprint by purchasing local, organic produce or by buying fruits and vegetables in season rather than out of season.

  • Consume less packaging. Buy food in bulk. Avoid snack foods that individually wrap small portions of food. Bring a few re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store or the mall and use those instead of getting plastic bags from the cashier. Some stores will give you a discount for this, and you won't have to worry about a plastic bag breaking and spilling groceries everywhere.

  • Turn off lights when you're not in a room. Unplug appliances when they aren't being used. Don't use heating or air conditioning unless you really need to. Take shorter showers to avoid having to heat so much water. All of these changes will reduce the amount of resources your home uses.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that nearly every dollar you spend will go to fund the depletion of some non-renewable resource. The most important way to manage non renewable resources is to be aware of what you're spending your money on, Learn how it's produced, how far it is shipped and how much of our resources it uses.

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