Did you know that of the $1.1 billion of tampons sold every year, nearly 88% of them have plastic applicators? And those applicators don’t break down once they’re in a landfill or in the ocean. 

It’s shocking that we don’t talk more about the environmental impact of standard tampon applicators. According to Design Life-Cycle’s handy guide to the life of tampons, did you know that it can take centuries for a single-use applicator to decompose? That’s not even talking about the amount of crude oil and energy it took to produce it either.

Called re.t.a. (reusable tampon applicator), the product is made of medical-grade silicon and has been cleared be the FDA. It’s made of three pieces that all detach and can be cleaned individually – a silicon part that you insert called the holder, a black peg that pushes the tampon through the holder, and a spherical cap. All very hygenic and stylish.

You use it by inserting any applicator-free tampon into the holder, assume the tampon-insertion position, and push the peg up. That’s it. Cleaning when it’s in use consists of disassembling the three parts and washing them thoroughly with unscented soap, then letting it air dry. Between periods, you soak it in boiling water and then clean it off with rubbing alcohol. Very simple to use and clean.

By switching to something like this, you will potentially be cutting down on 58% of period waste. With the billions of tampons being used each year, we have a major environmental crisis on our hands, even if no one is talking about it. Do your part for the planet and make the switch to something more eco-concious, be it a diva-cup or reusable tampon applicator.