Name five options that exist if a mineral does become economically depleted.

Expert Answers
crmhaske eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When a mineral becomes scarce there are five things that can be done:

The unnecessary waste of the mineral can be reduced
- For example, by streamlining the manufacturing process

The mineral can be recycled and reused
-For example, metals and plastics can be melted down after they have outlived their use, and used to create new products.

A substitution for the mineral can be found, and/or
-For example, during the materials revolution, the use of metals was replaced in many cases by the use of silicon, ceramics and/or plastics instead.  Substitutions, however, are not always feasible or even possible.

We can use what is remaining more sustainably
-Some of the above mentioned points can be included in using the mineral more sustainably.  Others ways to do so include:
  - Include the environmental impact of mining in processing of the mineral in the price of the item
  - Reduce mining subsidies, and increase subsidies for recycling, reuse and finding substitutes
  - Use the mineral waste from one process as raw materials for another process

We can adapt to go without it
- Scientists have a lot of faith in the ingenuity of humans.  Were a mineral resource to become completely extinct, there is much faith in the adaptability our species to learn how to go without it.