Do we need the car? A qualitative study on the disposal of bulky waste in carless households in Gothenburg
Carlessness today can be seen to come with restrictions in mobility as the car has long played a vital role in transport, and consequently affected urban form. Of course, there are many who do live without a car, but certain activities can be proven difficult when in many cases it is predicted that one has a car. Bulky waste disposal has been identified as an example of this. In Gothenburg for example, the recycling centres are located in the outskirts of the city, perceived only accessible by car. Thus, the study aims to explore this aspect further; investigating the potential problems associated with the disposal of bulky waste in carless households in Gothenburg. A qualitative approach with six semi-structured interviews was used to seek the respondents’ transport strategies and identify restrictions and solutions in these households’ bulky waste disposal. Results show that walking, cycling and driving are used to get rid of bulky waste. For those who take the car present different ways of gaining access to one, also revealing the inherent time-geographical constraints. Thematic analysis of the data show restrictions and barriers in bulky waste disposal associated with alienation, dependency and physical barriers. Identified solutions include aspects of cost, accessibility, flexibility and an attitudinal change. As for disposing bulky waste being a problem for the carless, it is not perceived by most respondents, even though certain inconvenient aspects are apparent. Other vulnerable groups in society however, such as the elderly who cannot drive, could experience more of a difficulty when disposing their bulky waste.