Abstract The effect of pH on the batch kinetics of methylene blue adsorption on beech sawdust was simulated, in order to evaluate sawdust potential use as low cost adsorbent for wastewater dye removal. The zero point of charge pH pzc of the sawdust, in order to explain the effect of pH in terms of pH pzc, was measured by the mass titration and the automatic titration methods. The adsorption capacity, estimated according to Freundlich's model, indicate that increase of the pH enhances the adsorption behaviour of the examined material. The lower adsorption of methylene blue at acidic pH is due to the presence of excess H + ions that compete with the dye cation for adsorption sites. As the pH of the system increases, the number of positively charged sites decreases while the number of the negatively charged sites increases. The negatively charged sites favour the adsorption of dye cation due to electrostatic attraction. The increase in initial pH from 8.0 to 11.5 increases the amount of dye adsorbed.