The denim industry has a phenomenal impact on the environment. Traditional cotton jeans carry a substantial carbon footprint with each single pair requiring 42 liters of water, along with up to 15 dyeing vats full of harmful chemicals to produce. But Dawn Ellams, a PhD researcher at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University believes she has come up with a less destructive and surprising alternative — denim made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. Spun into a cotton-like fabric, which is marketed under the name Tencel, the wooden jeans require only one fifth of the water, energy, and chemicals of their conventional counterparts.