I'm not usually one for being a conspiracy theorist, but frankly, I think we're being fed a lot of bull about CFL lightbulbs. They're touted as "huge energy savers" of $50/year. I'd prefer to pay the extra $50 to get the type of light from an incandescent bulb, if $50 really is a true figure. Supposedly the real savings come from using CFLs in fixtures that are on more than 3h/day. I can't recall a light bulb in my house that stays on for 3h or more per day, especially this time of year when the sun sets shortly after , in my area of the world. In the winter, yes, I do need more light, but I currently live alone and only have a light on in the room I am using. Often in the winter I am watching TV with the lights off (yes, TV uses more energy than a light bulb, but I'm pointing out that my light bulbs are not on that often). Isn't just shutting your lights off when you don't use them a better plan overall?
I also don't agree with how it was never made clear to the general public that CFL bulbs couldn't be thrown in the trash. I wonder how many bulbs have and will continue to end up in the landfill because people aren't aware of this? To be honest, I have never fully read all of the fine print on a CFL package, and it likely does state that it cannot be thrown in the regular trash, but here's the problem: People Are Stupid. Unless it's in giant letters on the packaging, the average person is not going to read the fine print. In my city, CFL bulbs are treated as hazardous waste and must be dropped off at the landfill. That will not encourage compliance. A lot of people also just plain don't give a crap and will throw the bulbs in the trash, even if they know better. This is happening, and will continue to happen. We can't even get people to properly discard paper coffee cups. What will the effect be of added mercury in our landfills?
I was unimpressed to hear that the Canadian government is planning a ban on incandescent bulbs by 2012. What angers me the most is how that plan restricts my choice. I want the ability to put incandescent bulbs in my house in not necessarily all, but some, locations. The politicians are pushing this as a way that everyone can do their part, as it is a small sacrifice. I don't disagree, and I do have CFL bulbs in my house... but aren't there much bigger issues we can tackle that will do more for the environment than light bulbs? Vehicle emissions is the biggest one that comes to mind, but that would cost the auto makers too much money, and in turn, cost us more for vehicles. There doesn't seem to be a winning situation here.
I don't want to be dictated to as to what type of light bulb I use. I can, and will, find lots of ways to counteract my usage of a few incandescent bulbs. Just don't take away my choice.