Sample Persuasive Speech Outline

STUDENT'S NAME: Kent Landers
SUBJECT: Recycling
SPECIFIC PURPOSE: To persuade the audience to become more active environmentalists. Specifically, to convince the audience to begin recycling household products and buying recycled goods.


  1. Documented Sources:
    1. Corson, Walter H., ed. The Global Ecology Handbook: What You Can Do About the Environmental Crisis. New Faux City: Pseudo, 19??. I-7, II-188.
    2. Lund, Herbert F. The McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.
    3. Skorupa, Joe. "Renewable Resources." Popular Mechanics. July 1995: 391-403.
    4. Steger, Will and Jon Bowermaster. Saving the Earth: A Citizen's Guide to Environmental Action. Atlantis: Unreal, 19??. 215, 220.

  2. Visual aid: Transparency with a cartoon. Object -- trash bag with typical recycables.

  1. Introduction:
    1. Attention-getting device: "DID YOU TAKE OUT THE TRASH?" How many times have our parents asked us that question? Probably more than most of us care to remember. Well, one day many of you will have children and most of the basics of parenting will remain the same. However, one may be changing. Instead of asking if your "little angel" took out the trash, you will probably be asking if he or she sorted the trash. [Monroe's Motivated Sequence - Attention Step]
    2. Preview: If you are wondering what I mean by sort the trash, listen to these staggering environmental statistics: In one year, the United States produces 160 million tons of garbage, and that only includes what is legally dumped. Really, how much in 160M tons? It's enough metal to build two million automobiles, enough wood to construct a million homes, enough paper to publish all the daily newspapers in the country, enough aluminum to rebuild the entire American air fleet 71 times, and would fill 11 million garbage trucks.
      Trash. We're drowning in it. Unless Americans take a more responsible role in recycling today, we are going to all be dead tomorrow! So, sort your trash. It is easy to recycle most household products and it will only take a little of your time.

  2. Body
    1. Recyling is an idea whose time have come. Although it may seem to you that everyone recycles, we don't! People feel it is time consuming and a hassle. However, it is actually very easy and necessary. [Monroe's Motivated Sequence - Need Step]
      1. Recycling has become necessary because landfills are rapidly being closed and are causing increasingly more damage to the environment.
        1. Landfills have decreased in number from 20,000 in 1978 to 3,000 in 1990.
        2. Landfills cause serious air and water pollution.
          1. A large landfill near Miami, FL has polluted a nearby lake to the extent that fish no longer live there.
          2. Decomposition of waste in landfills releases methane which can kill vegetation as well as increase the spread of diseases such as hepititis.
        3. To manage the growing volume of solid waste it is necessary to turn to alternative methods such as recycling.
      2. Americians do not do their share in recycling.
        1. Recycling saves energy and reduces pollution. However, the United States recycles only about 11 percent of its waste.
        2. Japan recycles nearly 50 percent of its consumer waste.
        3. Recycling is required in only 15 percent of American communities. And although about 42 percent of Americans say they recycle, only a small percentage said that waste disposal was a major national concern.
      3. Americans have the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) philosophy.

    2. Most everything in a trash bag can be reclaimed through recycling. [Monroe's Sequence -- Satisfaction Step]
      1. Paper constitutes the largest portion of recycled material.
        1. Worldwide newspaper makes up approximately 10 percent of solid waste.
        2. Paper is the most widely recycled material.
        3. USA Today is printed on 100 percent virgin material due to the quality needs for color printing. It is important to recycle these types of newspapers.
      2. Plastic recycling is a relatively new idea
        1. Approximately 20 percent of plastic is recycled.
        2. The major problem with plastic recycling is that there are more than fifty types of plastic in use.
        3. EPA estimates predict that the volume of plastic waste will double by 1999. Much of this waste is polystyrene, which takes thousands of years to degrade -- if it biodegrades then.
      3. Aluminum recycling is the most successful.
        1. 54 percent of aluminum was recycled in 1984. Environmental reawakening has helped to increase that number since then.
        2. Other metals can be recycled as well. If a magnet will not stick to the metal, most likely it can be recycled.

    3. Recycling can be an aid to the world's mountains of trash. [Monroe's Motivated Sequence - Visualization Step]
      1. If the world community send less trash to the landfill, the closing of a landfill will not be a crisis.
        1. J. Winston Porter, an administrator for the EPA, said "It is in recycling that I see the most early promise for improved solid waste management."
        2. Recycling will decrease drinking water and air pollution.
        3. Will Steger, author of Saving the Earth, says "'There will always be another landfill' cannot be the words we live by. The time for the shift from a throwaway society to conserving society has arrived."

    4. It is necessary to be a wise consumer and determine what products you buy will help not hurt the environment. [Monroe's Motivated Sequence - Action Step]
      1. Precycle when you shop
      2. As a consumer it is important to purchase recycled goods.
        1. Outdoor sportswear is now being made from 25 percent recycled plastic. Manufacturers such as L.L. Bean, Patagonia, JanSport, and others are using recycled soda bottles for fiber in sweaters and pullovers.
        2. Recycled goods are usually not any more expensive than non-recycled products.
      3. Learn what is recyclable and what is not.

  3. Conclusion
    1. Summary: It seems that recycling is becoming the wave of the future. It is so easy to recycle household goods and takes so little time. If you live in the dorms, you have the opportunity to recycle. Natalie Heady, president of UTM's Project Recycle, says that "On campus, it is extremely easy to recycle. Just look for the blue bins and trash cans. Sort the trash in your room and it will only be a short walk to your trash room to leave your recyclables."
    2. Concluding device: Remember, we've reached the 1990s. Recycling isn't just for hippies -- it is for everyone who is interested in living in a clean environment.

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