Hazardous reactive dyes can cause serious environmental problems, as they are difficult to remove from water using conventional adsorbents due to their large molecular sizes and bulky structures. Sustainable mesoporous carbons derived from alginic acid demonstrated promising adsorbent capacity for several representative industrial bulky reactive dye molecules that account for almost 30% of the global textile dye market: Procion Yellow H-XEL (PY), Remazol Black (RB), Procion Crimson H-XEL (PC) and Procion Navy H-XEL (PN). These new adsorbents showed high mesoporosity (>90%) and large pore diameters (>20 nm) facilitating more straightforward and efficient adsorption and desorption processes when compared with predominately microporous activated carbon (AC), Norit, of similar surface chemistry, or with Silica gel (Sgel) that shows good mesoporosity but is hydrophilic. Their adsorption capacity was also significantly higher than that of both AC and Sgel, verifying suitability for bulky dye elimination from wastewater. Adsorption kinetic studies showed a best fit with the Elovich model, indicating a heterogeneous surface adsorption process. The adsorption isotherm data was best represented via the Toth model for almost all adsorbent/dye systems (R2 ≥ 0.98), validating the results of the Elovich model whereby the adsorbent is structurally heterogenous with multilayer dye coverage. From thermodynamic analysis, the derived parameters of ΔG (−11.6 ∼ −6.2 KJ/mol), ΔH and ΔS demonstrate a spontaneous, enthalpy controlled adsorption process that was exothermic for RB (−10.0 KJ/mol) and PC (−23.9 KJ/mol) and endothermic for PY (3.9 KJ/mol) and PN (13.2 KJ/mol). Overall these alginic acid based mesoporous carbons are cost-effective, sustainable and efficient alternatives to current predominantly microporous adsorbent systems.