use and conservation of resources

reusing resources

Reusing resources means using items again instead of throwing them away. A reused item can be used in the same way by someone else. Or it can be used in a new way. For example, Shana has a pair of jeans she has outgrown. She might give them to her younger sister to wear. Or she might use them to make something different for herself, say, a denim shoulder bag. Some other ideas for reusing resources are shown in Figure 20.7.

recycling resources

Many things can be recycled. The materials in them can be reused in new products. For example, plastic water bottles can be recycled. The recycled material can be made into t-shirts! Old phone books can also be recycled and made into textbooks. When you shop for new products, look for those that are made of recycled materials (see Figure 20.8). Even food scraps and lawn waste can be recycled. They can be composted and turned into humus for the garden. At most recycling centers, you can drop off metal cans, cardboard and paper products, glass containers, and plastic bottles. Recycling stations like the one in Figure 20.9 are common. Curbside recycling usually takes these items too. Do you know how to recycle in your community? Contact your local solid waste authority to find out. If you dont already recycle, start today. Its a big way you can help the planet!

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the three rs

You probably already know about the three Rs. They stand for reduce, reuse, and recycle. The third R recycle has caught on in a big way. Thats because its easy. There are thousands of places to drop off items such as aluminum cans for recycling. Many cities allow you to just put your recycling in a special can and put it at the curb. We havent done as well with the first two Rs reducing and reusing. But they arent always as easy as recycling. Recycling is better than making things from brand new materials. But it still takes some resources to turn recycled items into new ones. It takes no resources at all to reuse items or not buy them in the first place.

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reducing resource use

Reducing resource use means just what it says using fewer resources. There are lots of ways to reduce our use of resources. Buy durable goods. Choose items that are well made so they will last longer. Youll buy fewer items in the long run, so youll save money as well as resources. Thats a win-win! Repair rather than replace. Fix your bike rather than buying a new one. Sew on a button instead of buying a new shirt. Youll use fewer resources and save money. Buy only what you need. Dont buy a gallon of milk if you can only drink half of it before it spoils. Instead, buy a half gallon and drink all of it. You wont be wasting resources (or money!). Buy local. For example, buy local produce at a farmers market, like the one in Figure 20.5. A lot of resources are saved by not shipping goods long distances. Products bought at farmers markets use less packaging, too! About a third of what we throw out is packaging. Try to buy items with the least amount of packaging. For example, buy bulk items instead of those that are individually wrapped. Also, try to select items with packaging that can be reused or recycled. This is called precycling. Pop cans and plastic water bottles, for example, are fairly easy to recycle. Some types of packaging are harder to recycle. You can see examples in Figure 20.6. If it cant be reused or recycled, its a waste of resources. Many plastics: The recycling symbol on the bottom of plastic containers shows the type of plastic they contain. Numbers 1 and 2 are easier to recycle than higher numbers. Mixed materials: Packaging that contains more than one material may be hard to recycle. This carton is made mostly of cardboard. But it has plastic around the opening.

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renewable resources

Renewable resources can be renewed as they are used. An example is timber, which comes from trees. New trees can be planted to replace those that are cut down. Sunlight is a renewable resource. It seems we will never run out of that! Just because a resource is renewable, it doesnt mean we should use it carelessly. If we arent careful, we can pollute resources. Then they may no longer be fit for use. Water is one example. If we pollute a water source it may not be usable for drinking, bathing or any other type of use. We can also overuse resources that should be renewable. In this case the resources may not be able to recover. For example, fish are renewable resources. Thats because they can reproduce and make more fish. But water pollution and overfishing can cause them to die out if their population becomes too low. Figure 20.1 shows another example.

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using natural resources

We need natural resources for just about everything we do. We need them for food and clothing, for building materials and energy. We even need them to have fun. Table 20.1 gives examples of how we use natural resources. Can you think of other ways we use natural resources? Use Vehicles Resources Rubber for tires from rubber trees Steel frames and other metal parts from minerals such as iron Example iron ore Use Electronics Resources Plastic cases from petroleum prod- ucts Glass screens from minerals such as lead Example lead ore Homes Nails from minerals such as iron Timber from trees spruce timber Jewelry Gemstones such as diamonds Minerals such as silver silver ore Food Sunlight, water, and soil Minerals such as phosphorus corn seeds in soil Clothing Wool from sheep Cotton from cotton plants cotton plants Recreation Water for boating and swimming Forests for hiking and camping pine forest Some natural resources are renewable. Others are not. It depends in part on how we use them.

who uses natural resources

Rich nations use more natural resources than poor nations. In fact, the richest 20 percent of people use 85 percent of the worlds resources. What about the poorest 20 percent of people? They use only 1 percent of the worlds resources. You can see this unequal distribution of oil resources in Figure 20.3. Imagine a world in which everybody had equal access to resources. Some people would have fewer resources than they do now. But many people would have more. In the real world, the difference between rich and poor just keeps growing.

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nonrenewable resources

Some resources cant be renewed. At least, they cant be renewed fast enough to keep up with use. Fossil fuels are examples. It takes millions of years for them to form. We are using them up much more quickly. Elements that are used to produce nuclear power are other examples. They include uranium. This element is already rare. Sooner or later, it will run out. Supplies of non-renewable resources are shrinking. This makes them harder to get. Oil is a good example. Oil reserves beneath land are running out. So oil companies have started to drill for oil far out in the ocean. This costs more money. Its also more dangerous. Figure 20.2 shows an oil rig that exploded in 2010. The explosion killed 11 people. Millions of barrels of oil spilled into the water. It took months to plug the leak.

conserving natural resources

How can we protect Earths natural resources? One answer is conservation. This means saving resources. We need to save resources so some will be left for the future. We also need to protect resources from pollution and overuse. When we conserve resources, we also cut down on the trash we produce. Americans throw out 340 million tons of trash each year. We throw out 2.5 million plastic bottles alone every hour! Most of what we throw out ends up in landfills. You can see a landfill in Figure 20.4. In a landfill, all those plastic bottles take hundreds of years to break down. What are the problems caused by producing so much trash? Natural resources must be used to produce the materials. Land must be given over to dump the materials. If the materials are toxic, they may cause pollution.

more people more resources

Every 20 minutes, the human population adds 3,500 more people. More people need more resources. For example, we now use five times more fossil fuels than we did in 1970. The human population is expected to increase for at least 40 years. What will happen to resource use?

instructional diagrams

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questions

Natural resources include

a. wind.

b. sunlight.

c. living things.

-->  d. all of the above

The wealthiest 20% of people in the world use what percent of the resources?

a. 35%

b. 55%

-->  c. 85%

d. 100%

Uses of natural resources include

a. food.

b. jewelry.

c. clothing.

-->  d. all of the above

Which of the following is a renewable resource?

a. oil

b. natural gas

-->  c. forests

d. coal

Minerals are used to make

a. parts for vehicles.

b. fabric for clothing.

c. parts for electronics.

-->  d. two of the above

Natural resources

a. can become unusable if they become polluted

b. are useful as long as they are not used up

c. are most valuable if they are renewable

-->  d. none of these

If a forest is logged,

a. trees can be planted and so the forest is renewable

b. trees can be planted, but a forest takes time to be renewed

c. it can never be the same as it was

-->  d. none of these

Which place uses the most gasoline and diesel oil?

-->  a. United States

b. Europe

c. China

d. India

Which way of conserving resources is likely to use the most energy?

a. reusing

b. reducing

-->  c. recycling

d. precycling

Fish can be a non-renewable resource if they

a. contain mercury

-->  b. are overfished

c. are no longer desired as a food source

d. none of these.

Which items can be recycled?

a. telephone books

b. lawn clippings

c. food scraps

-->  d. all of the above

Which alternative for bagging groceries is the best way to conserve natural resources?

a. Use only paper bags.

b. Use only plastic bags.

c. Use a mix of paper and plastic bags.

-->  d. Bring your own reusable cloth bags.

Drinking bottled water is better for you and the environment.

a. true

-->  b. false

It is usually better to throw something away than to fix it.

a. true

-->  b. false

Pollution occurs when a product is produced and when it is tossed away.

-->  a. true

b. false

Your community probably recycles plastics that have certain numbers on them.

-->  a. true

b. false

Soil is considered a non-renewable resource.

a. true

-->  b. false

Renewable resources cannot be overused.

a. true

-->  b. false

Both plastic and rubber are made from petroleum.

a. true

-->  b. false

Elements that are used to produce nuclear power are renewable resources.

a. true

-->  b. false

Oil reserves beneath land are running out.

-->  a. true

b. false

When we conserve resources we also produce less trash.

-->  a. true

b. false

We use less of fossil fuels today than we did in the 1970s.

a. true

-->  b. false

China uses more paper per person than any other country.

a. true

-->  b. false

It costs more to recycle resources than to use new resources.

a. true

-->  b. false

Recycling used products is the same as reusing them.

a. true

-->  b. false

Recycled plastic water bottles can be made into t-shirts.

-->  a. true

b. false

example of a renewable resource

a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

d. renewable resource

-->  e. water

f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

saving resources

a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

-->  c. conservation

d. renewable resource

e. water

f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

any natural resource that will not run out if we use it wisely

a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

-->  d. renewable resource

e. water

f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

anything in nature that humans need

-->  a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

d. renewable resource

e. water

f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

buying items with reusable or recyclable packaging

a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

d. renewable resource

e. water

-->  f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

example of a nonrenewable resource

a. natural resource

-->  b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

d. renewable resource

e. water

f. precycling

g. nonrenewable resource

any natural resource that will run out if we keep using it

a. natural resource

b. fossil fuel

c. conservation

d. renewable resource

e. water

f. precycling

-->  g. nonrenewable resource

diagram questions

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