Water insoluble sulfonated cellulose was prepared and applied for Cu2+ removal from water. The effects of sorbent dose, initial solution pH, temperature and initial Cu2+ concentration on the removal performance of sulfonated cellulose were investigated. Isothermal data were modeled with the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models. The Cu2+ sorption onto sulfonated cellulose followed the Langmuir isotherm model with the maximum sorption capacity of 8.2mg-Cu2+/g. Removal of Cu2+ showed rapid initial kinetics; in 3min removal of Cu2+ reached equilibrium status. Thermodynamic study revealed an exothermic sorption process. In addition, sulfonated cellulose is a kind of green and renewable sorbent because it can be easily regenerated by 0.1M HCl.