The World´s natural resources are being depleted at a high rate because of population growth and consumption. As population grows exponentially (has now reached 7 billion), the consumption of raw materials grows exponentially as well. Exponential growth of raw material consumption on a planet of finite land area can simply not go on forever.

One day humanity will reach the general peak of maximum production. This maximum production peak has for instance, already been reached in the production and mining of gold (year 2000), phosphate (2000) and oil (2005). We are getting closer to the peak of maximum production for most other chemicals, even for iron within 40 years. The peak for lead will be reached in 2020, iron, silver, zinc and platinum in 2030, for copper in 2040 and for nickel, chromium and indium in year 2050.

Maximum production peak indicates that 50% of the material has been processed. If continued, our modern and technical society will not have access to materials upon which it is dependent. The only way to improve the use is to shut the material cycles by recycling every material. Waste is therefore not garbage, but raw material for reprocessing  and recycling in nature or inside the industries themselves. If we manage to reuse up to 98% of these materials, and if population growth can be reduced, then all chemicals can last for thousands of years, even tens of thousands of years.

When maximum production has been reached, half of the material is still left, but as demand exceeds supply the price goes up. The only means of extending the life of raw materials is by recycling. This is why we all have to work together as a team and recycle our waste. By combined efforts we can achieve great results.


Ragnarsdóttir K.V., Sverdrup H.U. and Koca D. (2012) Assessing Long Term Sustainability of Global Supply of Natural Resources and Materials. In C. Ghenai (ed.) Sustainable Development: Energy, Engineering and Technologies, Manufacturing and the Environment. Intechweb Publishers (
Obtainable at:

Jan. 24, 2013
Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir „Af hverju endurvinna?“, Náttú Jan. 24, 2013 URL: [Skoðað:June 12, 2024]
Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
breytt: July 2, 2014