Tonnes of waste are generated during tea production in Turkey, one of the black tea producing countries in the world. These wastes are not used for any purposes throughout industrial sector. The objective of this study is to bring in economic value to waste materials by producing activated carbons from wastes of a tea plant and to characterize their physicochemical properties. Three types of activated carbons were produced by chemical activation using zinc chloride from tea industry wastes (TIW). Mesoporous structure and surface area rise as the ratio of ZnCl2/TIW increases. When the ratios of ZnCl2/TIW were selected as 1/2:1, 1:1, and 2:1, mesoporous activated carbons are found in the percentages of 10.9%, 39.9% and 77.7% with BET surface areas of 706, 1066 and 1141 m(2) g(-1), respectively. The resultant activated carbons were characterized by analyses of proximate-ultimate, FT-IR, SEM, TGA, methylene blue-iodine numbers, and surface functional groups. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.