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  • People in Poland are burning garbage to keep warm as the energy crisis in Europe intensifies. 
  • Meanwhile, Romania is capping the price of firewood at about $80 per cubic meter. 
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended Europe’s energy supply ahead of winter. 

Europe’s energy crisis is pushing Polish citizens to burn trash and Romania to cap the price of firewood as demand for alternative heating sources jumps. 

Residents of a suburb outside Warsaw told Bloomberg that they can smell trash burning everyday now, while some towns are noticing less garbage is being picked up.

“We’re seeing a significant drop in garbage collection, especially when it comes to materials than could at least in theory be suitable for burning such as paper, cardboard and packaging,” the mayor of one town told Polish media.

The European Union banned Russian coal after Vladimir Putin launched his war on Ukraine, hitting coal-reliant Poland especially hard. Poles rushed to stock up on coal before the ban took effect in August, and now surveys show 60% of Polish households don’t have enough coal to get through the winter.

The cost of natural gas has also soared as Russia cuts off supplies to Europe, with officials accusing Moscow of weaponizing energy. 

Meanwhile, the Romanian government set a price cap on firewood of 400 lei ($80) per cubic meter and 2,000 lei per ton of wood pellets, according to Bloomberg.

Romania previously capped prices for gas and power to help ease the surge that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Firewood has grown in popularity in Romania as a low-cost alternative for heat, and the country pushed citizens to lean on firewood as a source of heat even before the Ukraine war started. 

Earlier reports pointed to increased demand for firewood elsewhere in Europe and even a rise in wood theft.  Sources cited by the Washington Post told the paper that “firewood is the new gold.” 



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