Boca Raton couple make other people’s beach trash their treasure (includes video story)

Tom and Rita Madden are a couple who walk the beach in Boca Raton every day, picking up trash. 

“It is usually after a weekend we find most,” said Tom.

They collect small and large objects alike, and sometimes find newer items on the beach.  

“A lot of face masks, they are washing in,” Tom said.

After looking at some of his trash collection, Tom said he got the idea to create his “pandemic playground.” 

“You know something? Maybe I can create something from it,” he recalled thinking to himself.

He started this art piece last March. The pieces they found are hanging out around the apartment, and any new item finds a home in the playground. 

Tom said he would love to see others start to turn beach trash into treasure. 

“I’d like to spread the fever,” said Tom. “If everyone had their own little pandemic playground, our beaches would be pristine.” 

He added that he can’t wait for his grandkids to see his artwork and that he’ll be back to the beach tomorrow to keep adding to his collection. 

The city of Boca Raton Recycling Pilot program reports that only 9% of plastic gets recycled, and the rest pollutes our oceans and hurts our wildlife. 




Gretell Sanchez Perez is a senior student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in broadcast media and minor in e-marketing and social media. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the communication coordinator at the National Association of Journalists. Sanchez hopes to pursue her master’s degree in spanish language journalism and become a reporter/anchor in Miami.