AbstractConocarpus pruning waste, an agricultural byproduct, was converted into low-cost activated and non-activated carbons and used for the remediation of Cd2+, Cu2+, and Pb2+ from aqueous solutions. The carbonization was carried out at 400 °C, while the activation was carried out in the presence of KOH and ZnCl2. Batch single-solute and multi-solute equilibrium and kinetic experiments were carried out to determine the adsorption capacities of the prepared activated and non-activated carbons, and these were further compared with commercially available activated carbon. The results showed that KOH-activated carbon (CK) outperformed the other activated and non-activated carbons in terms of adsorption efficiency. CK removed >50% of the applied Cd2+ and Cu2+ and 100% of Pb2+ at the initial concentration of 40 mg L-1. Interestingly, the performance of Conocarpus-derived non-activated carbon was better than that of the commercial activated carbon, as observed from the Langmuir maximum adsorption capacities of 65.61, 66.12, and 223.05 µmol g-1 for Cd2+, Cu2+, and Pb2+, respectively. The Pb2+ was the metal most easily removed from aqueous solution because of its large ionic radius. The kinetic dynamics were well described by the pseudo-second order and Elovich models.