Difference Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources (With Table)

The world constitutes renewable and non-renewable resources and the extension of anyone can lead to a disbalance which shall be very difficult to supplement. The world is set in such a way that the two resources work hand-in-hand and complement each other. The world today is overusing resources which are leading to many problems.

Renewable vs Non-Renewable 

The main difference between renewable and non-renewable lies in its naturally making period. Renewable resources are abundant and even if they need to be naturally made they take very little time whereas non-renewable resources take 100 or millions of years to be made naturally and can extinct due to over-usage. 

Renewable resources are defined as the resources which are abundantly available or can renew themselves in a short period. They are classified as biodegradable which means they can easily convert into waste that is not harmful and can be used for various purposes. The cost of using renewable resources is also less and promotes the balance in nature.

Non-Renewable resources are generally classified as non-biodegradable because they cause pollution when burned or simply left. Some of the resources are also hazardous and they are expensive. They are the resources that are available in small quantities and overuse can lead to extinction as they replenish themselves after a hundred or million years. 

Comparison Table Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources

Parameters of ComparisonRenewable ResourcesNon-Renewable Resources
DefinitionThe resources can be replenished after a short amount of time. The resources can get extinct as they take more than hundreds of millions of years to replenish.
Quantity availableThey are available in abundant quantity which can be used for years.They are available in very limited and should judiciously 
Bio-degradable They are biodegradable which means they will naturally or chemically decompose and not leave pollution.They are non-biodegradable which means they cannot degrade naturally and cause pollution.
Cost They are cheaper and can be used more easily as well as sustainable.They are expensive and some of them have to be imported as well as require sustainable development to be used for a long time.
ExamplesSolar energy, wind energy, etcCoal, fossil fuels, crude oil, etc.

What is Renewable Resource?

Renewable resources are defined to replenish themselves in a very short period or are available in larger quantities. They are good alternatives for non-renewable resources and they are also ec0-friendly as well as do not or cause very little pollution. All of them are mostly natural and do not require any kind of long processing to be useful.

The resources are sustainable which means they would not extinct for a long time and can be used in the following generations easily. Although they are not extinguishable the overuse can lead to some serious problems as told by the scientists. The sun can also be extinct in seven or eight billion years but till the human species will be gone or colonised on another planet.

The renewable resources are as follows:-

  1. Solar Energy:- The world is facing an electricity shortage and a good alternative can be light by the energy of the sun. The energy of the sun can be converted into electricity by the use of solar panels and they store energy and can be used even in the winters.
  2. Wind Energy:- The air is almost everywhere and the movement of the air is known as wind. The wind is hit to big windmills which convert the wind energy into a rotational movement that produces electricity.
  3. Hydropower:- The energy by the water is known as hydropower. The water from the dams falls on big wheels which rotates to give electricity as well as used at many places in the industry.

Hydra Power or geothermal energy:- The world has advanced and started using hydrogen as a source of great power as well the energy of the Earth is utilised to cater to the needs of humans.

What is a Non-Renewable Resource?

Non-Renewable resources take a great amount of time to replenish themselves. They take a long time because the process of creating them takes a long time as they first form layers. They are expensive because they have to be mined or taken out from Earth’s crust which is a longer process.

They are categorised under the non-biodegradable resources as they cannot degrade easily on the Earth’s surface and cause pollution when they are burned for various purposes like generation of electricity, fueling of vehicles, cooking, etc. They are also said to disbalance nature because they are mined out.

For the protection of the non-renewable resources, the people have approached the idea of sustainable development which means the use of resources in such a way that the future generations can also use them and the current generation also benefits. This can be done by not overusing the present resources as intent to extinct them. 

Some of the resources are as follows:-

  1. Coal:- The coal is mined out through the coal mines which are made by the dead plants when they are subjected to high pressure. Due to the change in the conditions, coal is classified into four types. To preserve coal, the government has introduced various amendments. 
  2. Petrol:- It is a fossil fuel which means when dead organisms are subjected to high pressure and heat under the sediment rocks it is formed. The petrol is imported in India and therefore exercises taxes which makes it expensive. 

Main Difference Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources

  1. Renewable resources can be replenished over a short period whereas non-renewable resources can get extinct as they take millions of years to replenish themselves.
  2. Renewable resources are bio-degradable and they do not cause pollution and waste whereas non-renewable resources are non-biodegradable and cause pollution when burned along with the hazardous waste.
  3. Renewable resources are available in abundant quantity and can take billions of years to get empty whereas non-renewable resources are available in a limited amount.
  4.  Renewable resources are cheaper as they are found naturally and the process of conversion is lesser whereas non-renewable resources are expensive because they require a defined process to be extracted out.
  5. Examples of renewable resources are solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc whereas non-renewable resources are coal, crude oil, fossil fuels, etc.


The two of the resources make the Earth capable of living. Renewable resources are a great alternative to traditional resources and should be used more often to save the planet Earth. The non-renewable resources take a great amount of time to replenish so should be used judiciously. We should follow sustainable development and think about the future generation as we have not inherited the Earth but burrowed it from the future. If the resources are extinct we have to go back to the older days technologies or develop more technologies to harness the potentials of renewable resources. Both of them are a way of living in the world. 


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360835296002124
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504509.2019.1595214
2D vs 3D