Natural vs Man Made Resources: Difference, & Examples

In the guide below, we compare natural resources vs man made resources.

We explain the difference between them, and also give some common examples of each.


What’s The Difference Between Natural Resources & Man Made Resources?

– Natural Resources

Natural resources generally come directly from the environment and are formed by natural processes.

An example of this is how fossil fuels are formed over millions of years underground. 

Natural resources generally do not involve manufacture or modification from humans.


– Man Made Resources

Man made resources on the other hand are manufactured by humans, usually with chemical reactions and other processes.

The process used, and the raw materials used, depends on the man made resource being manufactured or produced.


Examples Of Natural Resources

We put together a separate guide we list some of the different categories of natural resources, and also give examples of natural resources under each category.

As a summary, some of the categories and examples of natural resources we listed were:

– Water 

Fresh water, and saltwater.


– Minerals & Ores

Metal ores


– Fossil Fuels

Coal, oil, and natural gas


– Renewable Natural Energy Resources

Sunlight, wind, water


– Wood

From trees


– Grasses & Plants

Bamboo as a grass, and cotton as a plant


– Soil

Topsoil for example that is used for growing crops and agricultural production


Examples Of Man Made Resources

Some examples of man made resources include, but aren’t limited to:


– Plastic

Plastic is generally made from a fossil fuel feedstock of oil, or natural gas.

Having said that, bioplastics and newer generation plastics have hit the market in more recent years.

Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials across society, and has a number of applications.

Plastic production is also only forecast to increase in the future according to numerous reports.


– Refined Metals

Some of the most common refined metals include metals like steel, and aluminum.

Steel is an alloy, with iron ore being a key component to make pig iron, which in turn is a key raw material of steel

Most aluminum comes from the natural resource bauxite ore (although some aluminum can be made from clay).


– Paper

Paper is made from cellulose, which comes from wood from trees which is turned into woodpulp.

Recycled paper is one example of another form of paper.


– Refined Oils & Fuels

The most common example of a refined fuel is gasoline used in everyday road vehicles like cars.

Crude oil is extracted from oil mining operations, and then oil refineries turn crude oil into a range of petroleum products.


– Polyester

Polyester is one of the most common fabrics used for textiles

It’s mainly derived from petroleum, and is made from a chemical reaction involving petroleum, air and water


– Other Man Made Resources

There’s thousands of other man made resources manufactured and used across society.




1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides


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