No two closed cycles, but only 1 and the same, for all resources, biotic or abiotic, renewable or non renewable, only with different loop times and routes ( see previous blog) . That we regularly see two cycles turn up, is typical framing of the situation: That way the technical/non renewable cycle can stay away from the need to regenerate resources, as the regrowables have to do, and parties involved can concentrate on the alleged advantages of recycling, and distract attention from depletion. ( see previous blogs on recycling).
All however on the assumption that cycles exist. Is that So? It was Heraclitus back in the old Hellenic period who already concluded: “ You cant step twice in the same river” . Time passes, and the original situation never returns. With water, but valid for any resource. Introducing time in closing cycles, implies a one directional process: resources degrade and fall apart, inevitable, . They are part of a overarching physical/thermodynamical system, which strives for high entropy, or chaos in the molecule system to put it popularly, and which is embodied in the second law of thermodynamics.
Within the universe the earth however has a uniques position, in which external Solar power keeps the earthbound system going, not in cycles, but one in which a linear degradation process for higher entropy is slowed down and even corrected to some extent: The straight descending line becomes a wave movement : sources degrade , and upgrade again by input of (solar) energy, in a continuous progressing process. Moreover, with every wave motion some losses occur, but this can be limited. This not only counts for so called regrowables, but also for minerals and metals. ( abiotic or technic resources), In that case its a wave morion with very long wavelengths ( for which besides the sun the of the earth cooling down plays a role) . For metals and minerals, we will never observe a new wave top in our generations, they are in a constant way down by degradation. Therefor, by neglecting regeneration, this trend is accelerating in a fast sliding down into molecule chaos. Which is confirmed by recent publications on the saturation of ores which is declining constantly.
Which again implies that it requires ever more energy to acquire the same amount of material.
The only way out is to drastically reduce the use, and if nevertheless used, to include regeneration as impact besides actual activity impact, and do this with energy from outside our own system, Solar energy. ( otherwise its about filling one hole with the other) . That would make the trough of a wave less deep , with limited quality losses, and reduced energy input on the long term, also for minerals and metals.
In fact closed cycles therefore don’t exist, let alone two. There are only wave motions, of which the losses can be limited. And again, as most important, these should be treated equally for all resources. Both with regeneration included in the process management, for a honest impact comparison. At least, if we want to maintain a certain level of luxury of life, for people especially.