Abstract This paper examines the main factors which link intended behaviour and actions to sustainably manage waste from, within a large organisational setting in the UK. A quantitative study of 566 employees from the Cornwall NHS and waste bin analyses were employed to examine the difference between intended behaviour and actions. Regression analyses demonstrated that the key factors that linked intended behaviour to actions were the beliefs about the priority of waste management as an issue and the benefits of recycling, as well as whether staff were concerned with recycling. The results also indicate the usefulness of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as a framework for predicting actions. Recommendations for overcoming the gap between intended behaviour and actions are also suggested.