Ways of reducing the use of resources


The reduction in use, reuse and recycling of materials by end users reduces the use of limited resources, use of energy sources, waste and environmental impacts.

Metals, glass, building materials, clay ceramics and most plastics are produced from limited raw materials. Much of the energy for the processes comes from limited resources. Obtaining raw materials from the Earth by quarrying and mining causes environmental impacts.

Some products, such as glass bottles, can be reused. Glass bottles can be crushed and melted to make different glass products. Other products cannot be reused and so are recycled for a different use.

Metals can be recycled by melting and recasting or reforming into different products. The amount of separation required for recycling depends on the material and the properties required of the final product. For example, some scrap steel can be added to iron from a blast furnace to reduce the amount of iron that needs to be extracted from iron ore.

Students should be able to evaluate ways of reducing the use of limited resources, given appropriate information