Zones in OFF are characterized and associated with "elements" that may be the place's main export or source of business. The Elsen in each area are notorious for introducing their element as "the first element" and "the most important".
Smoke is the substance that is used to breathe by the ones occupying the zones. It's harvested from mines by mining the metal; capturing it and setting it free.
It is usually bottled and sent to zones that don't have this element naturally. The extra smoke that escapes from the bottling process is released into Zone 1's air and creates its atmosphere.
This is explained to be the first and most important element because without it, no one could breathe.
Metal is harvested from cows by cutting them open and taking it out of their carcasses. According to an Elsen, the nutrition of a cow corresponds with the quality of the metal. Poor quality metal is discarded, forming the ground (soil); the rest is used to make objects like tools. The metal farmsteads are found in Pentel in Zone 1
This is explained to be the first and most important element because without it, no one would be able to walk and would sink into the plastic.
Plastic administrations is found in Shachihata in Zone 1. Plastic is used to make objects and something analogous to water, as the bodies of water in OFF are plastic. It comes in two consistencies: liquid and solid.
It is explained to be the first and most important element because without it, there would be no boundaries. Everyone would just continue to walk and walk.
The meat fountains are located in Alma in Zone 1. It also can take a liquid form. It must be bottled before the fountains overflow. The sound that plays when traveling through the meat suggests that it is quite viscous.
It is also told to be the first and most important element because without it, there would be nothing to eat.
Claimed to be a secret fifth element, this substance is given to the Elsen in Zone 3 as a reward for work. Not a true element at all, Sugar is actually an addictive drug created by Enoch. It is made from the purified vapours of corpses that are burned. The sugar ovens of Vesper are the main source of sugar.
When the Elsen of Vesper give their 'most important element' speech, they claim that without Sugar, people would go mad, unable to cope with reality.