A compact, eco-friendly solution for traditional plastic-applicator tampons.

By Faith Brar
January 24, 2019
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Photo: THINX

THINX is known for challenging the status quo when it comes to all things period-related. They first became popular for introducing period underwear back in 2015, which are designed to be leak-resistant so you can free bleed even on your heaviest days. More recently, they launched a period sex blanket using similar technology in an effort to lift the taboo surrounding sex during that time of the month. (Read: Everything You Need to Know About Having Sex On Your Period)

Now, they're making waves again with their latest innovation: A modern, eco-friendly makeover for tampons. Meet re.t.a, the first FDA-cleared reusable tampon applicator aimed at reducing environmental waste.


Re.t.a. has three different parts: an applicator, a clear shell to hold the tampon, and a sleek cover for storage. To use it, you'll have to purchase tampons that don't have disposable applicators (like o.b. or Cora). To use it, you simply take re.t.a. apart, place the tampon inside the clear shell, and then use the applicator to push it through the shell into your vagina-pretty much exactly like you would with a regular tampon. At just 4 inches long, re.t.a is easy to store, and you can take it with you wherever you go. (Related: Can These Pads Really Help Soothe Your Period Cramps?)

"Like our reusable underwear, re.t.a can help you create a more sustainable and intentional period care routine," THINX shared on their website. "It's designed with medical-grade materials (not made with BPA or natural rubber latex), plus it means you don't put plastic waste into the environment every time you use a tampon."

FYI: Nearly 20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year. Ocean cleanup crews have collected upwards of 180,000 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day. (That's one reason why more people and brands are using menstrual cups instead.) While re.t.a. doesn't solve the problem entirely (tampons themselves aren't recyclable) they do help reduce applicator waste, which is a step in the right direction. (Related: I Tried FLEX Discs and for Once Didn't Mind Getting My Period)

If you're all about making your period more environmentally-friendly, re.t.a is available on the THINX website for purchase today and will only set you back $60-a small price to pay when it comes to preserving Mother Earth.