One of the most serious environmental problems is the existence of hazardous and toxic pollutants in industrial wastewaters. The major hindrance is the simultaneous existence of many/different types of pollutants as (i) dyes; (ii) heavy metals; (iii) phenols; (iv) pesticides and (v) pharmaceuticals. Adsorption is considered to be one of the most promising techniques for wastewater treatment over the last decades. The economic crisis of the 2000s led researchers to turn their interest in adsorbent materials with lower cost. In this review article, a new term will be introduced, which is called “green adsorption”. Under this term, it is meant the low-cost materials originated from: (i) agricultural sources and by-products (fruits, vegetables, foods); (ii) agricultural residues and wastes; (iii) low-cost sources from which most complex adsorbents will be produced (i.e.
, activated carbons after pyrolysis of agricultural sources). These “green adsorbents” are expected to be inferior (regarding their adsorption capacity) to the super-adsorbents of previous literature (complex materials as modified chitosans, activated carbons, structurally-complex inorganic composite materials etc.
), but their cost-potential makes them competitive. This review is a critical approach to green adsorption, discussing many different (maybe in some occasions doubtful) topics such as: (i) adsorption capacity; (ii) kinetic modeling (given the ultimate target to scale up the batch experimental data to fixed-bed column calculations for designing/optimizing commercial processes) and (iii) critical techno-economical data of green adsorption processes in order to scale-up experiments (from lab to industry) with economic analysis and perspectives of the use of green adsorbents.