Everything we use has at one point come from nature. Some things like paper, plastic, metals and glass have to be manufactured (made in factories) before we can use them. The things used to manufacture them are called raw materials or natural resources. For example, wood is used to manufacture paper, so wood is the raw material or natural resource needed for paper production.
As well as the raw materials, the manufacture of materials also uses huge amounts of energy, usually as electricity, and other resources like water, chemicals, oil and natural gas.
Getting the raw materials required to manufacture paper, glass, metals etc. often causes serious damage to the environment and their production creates a lot of pollution.
In this section we are going to look in more detail at five materials. Where they come from, what they are made of, where they go to be recycled and why this is a good idea.
There are also quizzes so you can see how much you know!