Classic denim blue jeans have been a staple in the global fashion industry for over half a century – but their iconic color comes with a heavy environmental price.

Dyeing just a single pair of jeans involves thousands of liters of water. And the dye itself comes from synthetic indigo, which is made of a slew of toxic chemicals, including hydrosulfites, that are all later released into the environment via waterways.

Israeli startup Sonovia has created a way to give blue jeans their quintessential color that both uses a non-toxic dye that is better for the environment and cuts water use by up to 85 percent.

“One of the most polluting processes in the world, across all industries, is textile dyeing,” Roy Hirsch, chief business officer at Sonovia, tells NoCamels. “It accounts for 20 percent of water pollution and three percent of global CO2 emissions.”

To color the yarn that will ultimately be woven into blue jeans, it normally needs to be fed through a series of rollers, which unwind it into long threads that are dipped in and out of special vats – tubs filled with 1,000 liters of water, chemicals and synthetic dye.

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Sonovia created a sustainable dyeing and finishing process to reduce the amount of water used in dyeing blue jeans and other clothing. Sonovia CEO Igal Zeitun is a Technion alumnus.