© 2021 Elsevier Inc.Management of basic natural resources and the spent industrial and domestic streams to provide a sustainable safe environment for healthy living is a magnum challenge to scientists and environmentalists. The present remedial approach to the wastewater focuses on recovering pure water for reuse and converting the contaminants into a solid matrix for permanent land disposal. However, the ground water aquifers, over a long period slowly leach the contaminants consequently polluting the ground water. Synthetic adsorbents, mainly consisting of polymeric resins, chelating agents, etc. are efficient and have high specificity, but ultimate disposal is a challenge as most of these materials are non-biodegradable. In this context, it is felt appropriate to review the utility of adsorbents based on natural green materials such as agricultural waste and restricted to few model contaminants: phenols, and heavy metals chromium(VI), and cadmium(II) in view of the vast amount of literature available. The article discusses the features of the agricultural waste material-based adsorbents including the mechanism. It is inferred that agricultural waste materials are some of the common renewable sources available across the globe and can be used as sustainable adsorbents. A discussion on challenges for industrial scale implementation and integration with advanced technologies like magnetic-based approaches and nanotechnology to improve the removal efficiency is included for future prospects.