Browse Definitions:
Definition

non-renewable resource

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A non-renewable resource is one that either does not regenerate or does not regenerate quickly enough to serve some human purpose in a sustainable way.

The most common examples of non-renewable resources are fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Although these resources form naturally within the earth, they take billions of years to do so. Other non-renewable resources include metals, minerals and stone.

Resources considered renewable are those that are readily replenished such as solar, geothermal, wind and tidal energy. Energy derived from such sources is often called green power or clean electricity because it doesn’t deplete non-renewable resources or cause pollution.

 Some resources, although they regenerate, do not do so very quickly and are in danger of depletion in many locations because of overuse. There is some disagreement over whether such resources as wood and potable water are, in a practical sense, renewable.

How Stuff Works explains renewable and non-renewable resources:

See also: business sustainability, carbon offset, carbon-neutral, carbon footprint, carbon usage effectiveness (CUE), Green Grid

This was last updated in November 2013

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

The answer is whether the resource is exhaustible over the period being used as to whether it's renewable. If you use less fish than grow every period, it's renewable. Same if you're using other things (like collecting honey, pinatas for tequila, or sap for maple syrup). If you harvest less wood in a year than grows to replace it, it's renewable. If you use lots more than it was created (like using ten million years production of petroleum in 100 years) it is not renewable.
Cancel
Potable water is renewable. Even sewage can be cleaned to drinking water standards. (Actually you can make sewage cleaner than the original water that is processed. You can throw pond scum at sewage by dumping it in pools and clean it without using chemicals. Industrial water either has to be processed with filtering and chemicals, possibly boiling, which is expensive and uses fossil fuels or maybe chemicals that cause a toxic problem.)
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

  • conduct risk

    Conduct risk is the prospect of financial loss to an organization that is caused by the actions of an organization's ...

SearchSecurity

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

  • security

    Security, in information technology (IT), is the defense of digital information and IT assets against internal and external, ...

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a malicious hacker (also called a cracker or a black hat) who is an employee or officer of a business, ...

SearchHealthIT

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

  • HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA)

    Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA) is a ...

  • telemedicine

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

  • fault-tolerant

    Systems with integrated fault tolerance are designed to withstand multiple hardware failures to ensure continuous availability.

SearchStorage

  • data deduplication

    Deduplication retains one unique data instance to reduce storage and bandwidth consumed by remote backups, replication and ...

  • byte

    In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. Bytes are often used to represent a ...

  • Secure Digital card (SD card)

    SD cards use flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage. They are more rugged than traditional storage media and are used in ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure ...

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor ...

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close