3 Interesting Facts to Know About Raw Material Extraction

Raw material extraction is a necessary process that allows humans to make a great number of different things. In fact, without raw materials, we wouldn’t have oil, steel, gasoline, corn, lumber, grain, forest resources, natural gas, plastic, coal, or minerals. As you can see, it’s easy to say that raw materials provide the building blocks of a civilized society. What else can we learn about them, though?

Although you probably rarely give them any thought, the extracting of raw materials is a fascinating process. Let’s take a closer look at three specific facts that will help highlight the importance of raw materials.

1. Direct and Indirect Materials

Raw materials are used in two different ways: indirect and direct. Direct materials are those that a manufacturer will use to make a finished product. For instance, real wooden bookshelves require a manufacturer to acquire and use wood. Meanwhile, indirect materials are those that help the production of the product but are not used as part of the final product. An example of this is the glue that’s used to hold two pieces together. Regardless of what type of product is built and whether it uses direct or indirect materials, the odds are high that basically everything you’ve purchased recently involved at least one raw material.

2. Lifetime Supply of Raw Materials

Have you ever asked yourself how many raw materials you actually use during your lifespan? The numbers may shock you!

  • 1.42 million pounds of gravel, stone, cement, and sand.
  • 30,901 pounds of salt.
  • 21,645 pounds of iron ore.
  • 11,614 pounds of clay.
  • 2,692 pounds of aluminum.
  • 950 pounds of copper.
  • 871 pounds of lead.
  • 502 pounds of zinc.

Yes, that’s right; it would take 1,489,175 pounds of raw materials to meet your lifetime needs. If you look at the U.S. population as it sits today, it would be necessary to extract approximately 506.3 trillion of raw materials! It’s no wonder that the mining industry has remained broadly stable, in spite of some ups and downs.

3. Water and Food Are Also Raw Materials

When you think of extracting a raw material, it probably doesn’t even enter your mind that this includes water and food. Yes, for the most part, you don’t have to actually extract these materials from inside the earth. However, you do need to remove them from wherever they currently are.

For example, water would need to be transported from a lake to a water filtration plant, and then on to a manufacturer. From there, they could make beverages or use them for industrial or agricultural purposes. When it comes to food, the raw material could be milk and the finished material would be yogurt or cheese.

Without raw materials, life wouldn’t be the same. You might not consciously think about how often you use them and the process behind how raw materials are extracted and processed for daily usage and consumption, but they allow you to have almost everything you own! Understanding the environmental impact of raw material extraction and adopting sustainable practices in their utilization is crucial for preserving natural resources and reducing ecological footprints.