What are examples of non-renewable resources

Non-renewable raw material

Non-renewable raw materials are substances whose formation does not take place in human, but in geological or astronomical time periods. Any use of such raw materials that cannot be reversed through recycling contradicts the principle of ecological sustainability.

This includes all mineral raw materials, i.e. inorganic raw materials that occur naturally as part of the earth's crust or mantle. There are three groups of mineral raw materials.

Rocks / sediments

Rocks or sediments are e.g. clay, sand, gravel, graphite, asbestos and diamond. They are particularly important in terms of quantity in building construction and civil engineering.


Salts such as potash, phosphates or rock salt are often used in the food and chemical industries.

Metallic raw materials

Ores are the most important mineral raw materials. Iron, aluminum and steel (as a product of iron and steel refiners) form the basic raw materials in mechanical engineering, shipbuilding and automobile construction. Precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum are not only crucial for the jewelry industry, but together with copper, tin and semiconductors form the basis of the electrical industry and electronics. Energy is generated from uranium in nuclear power plants.

Fossil raw materials

Fossil raw materials are all raw materials derived from organic material. These include coal, oil and natural gas. They are used as fuel in power plants, vehicles and aircraft and as a starting material for the chemical industry.

See also

Category: raw material