What is the difference between renewable and non renewable resources?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Non-renewable resources are used up quicker than they can be made by nature. Usually the cut off time is more than 100 years.

Renewable resources replenish naturally within 100 years, or close to how fast they are being used up.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Resources can be divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable.

Renewable resources can be easily replaced after they are used.  For example, sunlight, wind, beef, corn, and water.

Non-renewable resources are very difficult, if not impossible, to replace once they have been used.  Examples include gold, diamonds, coal, oil, natural gas, and copper.

Currently, there is a big push for the development of new and/or improved methods for harnessing the power of renewable resources to power automobiles and electrical grids around the country and world.  This is because the population is quickly realizing that petroleum based products, like gasoline, will eventually run out.  This has been largely affected by the sudden spike in fuel prices and the growing awareness of our role in global warming.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Renewable resources are those resources which are easily regenerated once they have been consumed or are available in such a large quantity that they will practically be sufficient for all future generations.

Non-renewable resources on the other hand are those which have a limited availability and once used are not regenerated or the process of regeneration takes millions of years.

The concept of renewable and non-renewable resources is used most often with reference to sources of energy. Renewable sources of energy include solar, wind, tidal, etc., which are available in abundance and which we will not run out of. Non-renewable sources of energy include petroleum products, coal, etc. which once used will not be renegenerated as we have also consumed the sources from which they were created.

Several resources like water, soil, agricultural products, etc. are renewable if used in a responsible manner and we leave enough of it unused so that the resource is regenerated at the rate we consume it.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on