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State of Texas with CFL Logo


Electricity Graph

Energy Efficiency
The chart shows the energy usage for different types of light bulbs operating at different light outputs. Points lower on the graph correspond to lower energy use. Thus, with CFLs you get equal light output for less energy.

CFLs combine the energy efficiency of fluorescent lighting with the convenience and popularity of incandescent fixtures.

CFLs can replace incandescent bulbs that are roughly 3–4 times their wattage, saving up to 75% of the initial lighting energy. Although CFLs cost 3–10 times more than comparable incandescent bulbs, they last 6–15 times as long (6,000–15,000 hours).

For a given light output, CFLs use between one fifth and one third of the power of equivalent incandescent lamps. Since lighting accounted for approximately 9% of household electricity usage in the United States in 2001, widespread use of CFLs could save as much as 7% of total US household usage.

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Variety of CFLs Graphic

Forget most of what you think you know about CFLs. Today’s CFLs are not your parents CFLs from say, even five years ago. The light from today’s CFLs is warmer, the bulbs are cheaper and more compact, they don’t flicker or hum, and today there’s a CFL for nearly every use, including recessed lighting, three-way lamps, track lighting, and porch lights. There are now even dimmable CFLs available for lights using dimmer switches. And, perhaps most important to many, CFL buyers who are put off by the spiral design, you can now get CFLs are enclosed in a glass globe; these look somewhat similar to conventional incandescent light bulbs, except they're larger.

Light Color

Warm White
Cool White
Approx. 2700K = Warm White
(Looks like incandescent white)
Approx. 5000K = Cool White
(A white / blue light)

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Mercury Graph

Mercury in CFLs
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams a bulb – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs. Mercury is an essential part of CFLs; it allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use.

Electricity use is the main source of mercury emissions in the U.S. CFLs use less electricity than incandescent lights, meaning CFLs reduce the amount of mercury into the environment. In areas powered by coal, CFLs end up saving on mercury emissions versus incandescent bulbs, due to the offset power use (coal releases mercury as it is burned), as demonstrated in the graph above.

What is mercury?
Mercury is an element (Hg on the periodic table) found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Coal-fired power plants are the largest man-made source because mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity. Coal fired power generation accounts for roughly 40 percent of the mercury emissions in the U.S.

The use of CFLs reduces power demand, which helps reduce mercury emissions from power plants.

Clean up

  1. Open nearby windows to disperse any vapor that may escape.
  2. Wipe the area with a damp, disposable paper towel to pick up all glass fragments. Do not use a vacuum, broom or your hands.
  3. Place all fragments in a sealed plastic bag and take to the nearest CFL recycling center.

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Recycling CFL GraphicRecycling CFLs
Spent lamps should be recycled to contain the small amount of mercury in each lamp, in preference to disposal in landfills. Only 3 percent of CFL bulbs are properly disposed of or recycled.

Residents are encouraged to be careful in packing and transporting their CFLs and tubes to avoid breakage and spillage.

In Houston you can take your CFLs for proper recycling to the following:

  Westpark Recycling Center

Westpark Recycling Center

5900 Westpark

Open Mondays thru Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CFLs from businesses will not be accepted.

Map to Westpark Recycling Center
  North Environmental Service Center

North Environmental Service Center Graphic

5614 Neches,
Building C

Open every 2nd Thursday of the month, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Environmental Service Center North Map
  South Environmental Service Center

South Environmental Service Center

11500 S. Post Oak

Open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

South Environmental Service Center Map

  Other Non-City Locations

You can recycle your CFLs at all area Home Depots and IKEA

Home Depot..... IKEA

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