Sea Turtle Inc. launches free Beach Toy Rental program

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Residents and visitors making a trip to the Island now have the option to rent beach toys instead of buying them.

In an effort to combat harmful effects to marine life caused by abandoned toys on the beach, Sea Turtle Inc. is taking steps to help lessen this type of plastic pollution.

The nonprofit launched its free pilot Beach Toy Rental program late last weekend.

Toy rental packages are limited to one per family and are available for pickup at a kiosk in the educational complex at Sea Turtle Inc.

Each rental package includes a drawstring bag, a garbage bag for trash collection and 10 beach toys including four animal molds, three digging toys, one sand sifter and one pail.

A $5 cash deposit is required to rent the beach toy package.

The deposit is refundable upon return if all items in the rental package are returned unbroken.

Sea Turtle Inc. personnel require all items be rinsed with fresh water upon returning them to the kiosk.

A prize is given if renters collect trash from the beach and return it to the kiosk in their provided garbage bag.

Behind the idea

The pilot beach toy rental program was created through a team effort between Marketing and Public Relations Manager Sanjuana Zavala and Sea Turtle Inc.’s latest group of interns.

All toys in each rental package were found abandoned on the beach by interns while patrolling the beach for nesting turtles and nests.

“One thing they do see without any miss or turn is marine debris,” Zavala said. “There was a massive influx of toys on the beach and they collected more than 100 fairly new toys that were just full of sand.”

Zavala said Sea Turtle Inc.’s ultimate goal is to educate and see less debris on the beach.

“Children are our future,” she said. “We hope this opens a family conversation about what they’re doing as a family to help turtles and being better environmentally on a day-to-day basis.”