A new type of low-cost activated micro-macroporous carbon suitable for mass production that is derived from cotton was successfully prepared by using potassium hydrate in a chemical activation method. The activated carbon exhibits a hierarchically porous microstructure and high specific surface area (1286 m2 g-1). The micro-macroporous structure allows a large amount of sulfur (68%) to be infiltrated into the micropores of the host. When evaluated as a cathode for lithium-sulfur batteries, the hierarchically porous carbon-sulfur composite electrode exhibits excellent cycling stability and good performance. The resulting composite electrode possesses a reversible capacity of 760 mA h g-1 after 200 cycles at the 0.2 C current rate.