Difference between Renewable and Non-renewable Resources

Renewable vs. Non-renewable Resources

What is Difference between Renewable and Non-renewable? Natural resources are of great importance to humans and other creatures. In general terms, they are categorized into two groups: renewable and non-renewable. All resources, both renewable and non-renewable are especially used by people and if one day they would miss our life probably would not be as comfortable as it can be while we use them. Hence the need for them not to be misused or wasted. Here below this post is all about the difference between renewable and non-renewable.

Difference between Renewable and Non-renewable

Renewable Resources

Renewable resources are those that are never depleted, since they can be restored through natural processes; at a faster rate than they are consumed. For example, trees are renewable; because even if you cut them, they can easily grow back.

Air, water, animals … are also renewable resources. Of these, the first two are renewed by cycles. But something very important to take into account is that although they are renewed we cannot exceed in its use, we must handle them carefully so that we do not spend them at a faster rate than they are renewed and we must face scarcity of the same ones .

Put another way, renewable resources can be replaced; s however, if the consumption rate becomes greater than the rate of renewal, sustainability will be affected. Just as there are resources, there are also renewable energies; some examples that we know and we can mention are: solar energy , wind, hydroelectric power; among other. In short, renewable resources are all those that can be renewed or replaced by nature or human activity itself.

Nonrenewable Resources

On the other hand, non-renewable resources include fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. There will come a time when these resources will be completely exhausted after being used. These resources come directly from the earth. They are usually divided into two groups: fossil fuels and nuclear fuels. Those that are included among the fossils and mentioned above, but among the nuclear ones are those that have to do with mining or the refining of minerals like uranium.

Nuclear fuels are considered the best and cleanest of non-renewable resources. Fossil fuels can take millions of years to re-form. Non-renewable resources have a fixed amount and are consumed before being replaced or made by nature. This is the main characteristic that differentiates them from renewable. In conclusion, much emphasis is now being placed on resource reuse and recycling; to guarantee the availability of them for the longest possible time.

Generally, renewable resources are clean and inexpensive (although at first it takes a lot of money to exploit them); therefore, very good to handle and do not cause damage to the environment. But non-renewable resources, although known for their efficiency; since they are able to produce a large amount of energy in a short time, they can be more expensive in the long run and cause some environmental damages.

Among the disadvantages of renewable resources can be mentioned that they are not as efficient as non-renewable ones in the context of energy production, and are too costly at first. On the other hand, the greatest disadvantage of non-renewable resources seems obvious (not renewed) and eventually depleted; besides they are not very clean and they bring many dangers to the environment. It is important to mention that 95% of the energy in the world derives from non-renewable resources.

Key differences between Renewable and Non-renewable Resources

  • Renewable resources can be replaced or reused, therefore, they do not disappear; while non-renewable ones cannot be replaced and eventually run out.
  • Examples of renewable resources: water, crops, wind energy, geothermal energy, air and solar energy.
  • Examples of non-renewable resources: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear fuels.

Advantages of Renewable Resources


Operating costs are low.

They are available in abundant quantities.

Advantages of non-renewable resources

  • They are relatively inexpensive.
  • Very efficient.
  • They produce a lot of energy in a short time.

Disadvantages of Renewable Resources

  • They are not very efficient in the production of energy in massive scale.
  • They are too costly at first. (At the time of exploitation).
  • They can be noisy.

Disadvantages of Non-renewable Resources

  • In the end they will disappear.
  • They are not clean.
  • They threaten the environment.