The controlled pyrolysis of mesoporous polysaccharide-derived materials, from starch and alginic acid, formed carbonaceous materials (Starbons ®) and were demonstrated as efficient materials for the removal of dyes from wastewater. The resulting materials were characterised by solid-state NMR, N2 adsorption porosimetry, FT-IR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tunnelling electron microscopy (TEM). The material's efficiency for dye adsorption was tested using methylene blue (MB) and acid blue 92 (AB) dyes. Adsorption data indicated that the mesoporosity of the material had a far greater influence on the adsorption capacity and speed of adsorption, than high surface area alone. Mesoporous Starbon® (A300) was evaluated against commercially available activated carbon (Norit) and demonstrated a superior adsorption capacity of MB; 186 mg g-1vs. 42 mg g-1. The kinetic activity of Starbon® was also determined with A800 showing the fastest rate of adsorption compared to S800 and Norit, suggesting that it is a more suitable material for water purification.