What Are Man-Made Resources?

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Man-made resources are items or substances that have value to human lives that do not occur in the natural world. Examples of man-made resources include plastic, paper, soda, sheet metal, rubber and brass. These contrast with natural resources, such as water, crops, sunlight, crude oil, wood and gold.

Some man-made resources are nearly essential to modern human life, such as medicines. Without medicines, vaccines and similar man-made chemicals, many people would become sick and die. Others are not essential, and only exist because people want them. For example, many pesticides are man-made resources, and while not essential, their use enhances the lives of many people.

Some man-made resources reflect their natural counterparts. For example, many lakes and rivers are man-made structures. While the water and fish inside them are natural resources, the impoundment would not exist without humans to construct it. Such resources offer food and recreation opportunities for many people. Humans also create farms, which are man-made resources, even though the plants and soil are natural resources.

Simple man-made resources, such as paper, are often combined to form more man-made resources, such as books, plates or wallpaper. High-tech products typically feature dozens or more components that are man-made resources, such as wire and semiconductors.