Unlike nonrenewable resources, such as oil and minerals, which are taken from the earth and cannot be replaced, renewable resources can be replenished, thus allowing a constant supply. Wood, for example, is a renewable resource because another tree can grow in the place of one that was cut down. A wide variety of commonly used consumer goods are made from renewable resources.
There are thousands of products made of wood, ranging in size from toothpicks and pencils to houses and barns. Wood that is ground down to a fine pulp is used to manufacture paper, which has numerous common uses throughout the world. Other products made from wood include furniture, flooring and even sports equipment, such as baseball bats and hockey sticks. In fact, such items as shoe polish and toothpaste are made of wood extracts.
Cotton is also a renewable resource because it is grown, harvested and replanted, yielding a harvest in each growing season. Cotton fiber is spun into a yarn that is used to manufacture a variety of clothing throughout the world. Cotton is also used to make towels, draperies, sheets and pillowcases. Other uses of cotton include fishing nets, coffee filters, medical gauze and even gunpowder, which contains a form of cellulose derived from cotton fiber.
Certain forms of power are produced by renewable resources. Hydroelectric power, for example, is produced by turning turbines with the force of powerfully flowing water; as long as water continues to flow with enough force, it will continue to produce energy.
Solar energy is also a renewable resource. Solar panels absorb the heat energy emitted by sunlight and stores this energy in specially designed power cells. These cells can then be used to provide energy. When the cells are depleted, they are simply recharged by sunlight until they're ready to be used again.
Leather and Fur
Leather from the hides of cattle and other animals is also a renewable resource, because cattle can be bred before being slaughtered to produce a continuous supply of livestock. Leather is used to manufacture jackets, coats and other types of clothing. The most common use of leather, however, is in belts, shoes and boots. Purses, bags, briefcases and backpacks also can be made of leather.
Fur, although not as widely used because of concerns of animal cruelty, is also renewable, as fur-bearing animals are able to reproduce. Common items traditionally made from fur include coats and hats.