Mn-containing sludge from groundwater treatment was converted to magnetic particles (MPs) via a one-step hydrothermal method using sodium ascorbate (SA) as the reductant. The MPs were characterized by X-ray diffraction spectroscopy, Mossbauer spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, magnetometry and Gran titration and the results showed that magnetic jacobsite was obtained as an intermediate product in transformation of Fe/Mn oxides to siderite and rhodochrosite. When the molar ratio of SA to Mn in the sludge was two, the produced MPs-2 contained a mixture of ferrihdyrite, hematite, jacobsite and Si/Al oxides, and could magnetize at 2.4 emu/g. Ferrihydrite content in MPs decreased with increase of the SA/Mn molar ratio, leading to decrease of the surface sites concentration (H-s). Thus, MPs-2 contained optimized H-s of 6.7 mmoL/g and a desirable adsorption capacity of Cu(II) (73.1 mg/g). The adsorption isotherms of MPs-2 on Cu(II) complied with the Langmuir model and the adsorption kinetics fitted well with the pseudo-second-order model. The major mechanism of adsorption was cationic exchange of the coordinated H and Na ions on MPs-2 surface sites with the Cu(II) ions. This study was the first time to report preparation of MPs by recycling Mn-containing sludge, which could be used as a high-capacity and low-cost adsorbent in treatment of heavy metal-containing wastewater.