Recent studies have shown the potential of food waste materials as low cost adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals and toxic elements from wastewater. However, the adsorption experiments have been performed in heterogeneous conditions, consequently it is difficult to compare the efficiency of the individual adsorbents. In this study, the adsorption capacities of 12 food waste materials were evaluated by comparing the adsorbents' efficiency for the removal of 23 elements from complex multi-element solutions, maintaining homogeneous experimental conditions. The examined materials resulted to be extremely efficient for the adsorption of many elements from synthetic multi-element solutions as well as from a heavy metal wastewater. The 12 adsorbent surfaces were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and showed different types and amounts of functional groups, which demonstrated to act as adsorption active sites for various elements. By multivariate statistical computations of the obtained data, the 12 food waste materials were grouped in five clusters characterized by different elements' removal efficiency which resulted to be in correlation with the specific adsorbents' chemical structures. Banana peel, watermelon peel and grape waste resulted the least selective and the most efficient food waste materials for the removal of most of the elements.