> product labeling process flowchart
> products subject to Vermont's Labeling Law
> standard labeling requirements
> label visibility requirements
> product labeling guidelines
> alternative labeling
> Certified Labeling Plans
> Certified Labeling Plan Review
> Certified Labeling Plan & Alternative Request forms
> enforcement authority

Alternative Labeling

Submit an Alternative Labeling Request online or download the form.The Vermont Mercury Management Rules, Subchapter 8, Special Wastes, Section 6-803 Mercury-Added Consumer Products states:

(c) The Secretary may administratively authorize alternative labeling, including package labeling, for mercury-added consumer products listed in Subsection 6-803(a)(2) above under the following conditions:

(1) A manufacturer must submit a written request for alternative labeling documenting that a product or class of products cannot reasonably be labeled to comply with specific requirements of Subsections 6-803(a) and/or (b) above.

(2) All authorizations for alternative labeling granted under this Subsection will be limited in duration and may be renewed.

Alternative labeling requests are ONLY necessary when a manufacturer:

  • Cannot fully comply with standard labeling requirements, or
  • Is unable to utilize existing labeling alternatives (see next section) and guidelines provided for specific product categories.

Alternative Labeling Request forms are available here.

Product-specific Labeling Alternatives

The Agency has developed the following Labeling Alternatives for a few product categories that can be used by manufacturers of those products, if applicable, without having to complete an Alternative Labeling Request.

  • Motor Vehicle Labeling (Alternative #ALT-0216)
  • Mercury-Added Lamps (Alternative #ALT-0257)
  • Mercury-Added Lamps (NEMA Alternative #ALT-0258)
  • Electronics w/ LCD over 7" diagonal screen labeling (Alternative #ALT-0283) [updated 1/7/2004]
  • Electronics w/ LCD over 7" diagonal screen labeling (Alternative #ALT-0284) [updated 1/7/2004]
  • Electronics w/ LCD under 7" diagonal screen labeling (Alternative #ALT-0285) [updated 1/7/2004]
    Note: If you already have a labeling plan on file with the state of Vermont for your electronic product and utilized ALT#0217 as the alternative, the expiration date of this alternative has been extended from March 1, 2004 to July 1, 2004. Also, the "manufactured after" date has been extended from November 30, 2003 to July 1, 2004. See ALT#s 0283, 0284, 0285 for additional information.

Note: All alternatives have a specific duration and can be renewed- see alternative renewal guidance.

Note: If you manufacture a product that falls within one of these product categories and you wish to utilize one of these guidelines in developing your plan, please indicate the guideline number on the certified labeling plan form.

When should a manufacturer submit an alternative labeling request?

A manufacturer should submit an alternative labeling request when they cannot label their product or package using guidance for standard labeling because the manufacturer:

  • Cannot comply with the minimum wording requirements
  • Cannot comply with the minimum requirements for font size
  • Cannot comply with placement of label
  • Cannot comply with the visibility requirements in the rule

Who reviews an alternative labeling request?

Vermont is the only state thus far that receives and reviews manufacturers' proposed labeling prior to implementation to determine compliance with requirements. Other states in the Northeast also have labeling requirements for mercury-added products but do not require the submission of a plan for labeling. These same states do, however, provide for review and approval of alternative labeling requests in their labeling laws in order to offer consistency across the region. However, only Vermont reviews and approves alternative labeling requests for lamps and electronics. Vermont participates in this regional multi-state review to provide consistency for any new alternative requests for products (other than lamps and electronic products) and renewals of existing alternatives.

Alternative requests are reviewed though a multi-state review process through the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC)-- off-site link --. Alternative requests are submitted through Vermont DEC and evaluated to determine if the request is an alternative method of labeling and cannot adequately utilize the provisions of standard labeling requirements. The alternative request is distributed to member states in the region that have the alternative labeling provisions, and a multi-state review is conducted through IMERC-- off-site link --. Any requests by member states for additional information necessary from the manufacturer in order to process the alternative will be requested of the manufacturer through Vermont. Information to clarify or change the alternative request will be again processed through Vermont and disseminated back out to member states to re-evaluate. Although a multi-state review process provides review of alternative labeling requests, each state will provide an independent approval letter to advise the manufacturer of compliance of the alternative labeling for that specific state.

Upon approval, Vermont DEC will issue an alternative number, which the manufacturer should use when completing the Certified Labeling Plan.

What does a manufacturer need to know before submitting an alternative labeling request?

If a product or package label cannot meet standard labeling requirements or pre-established alternatives or guidelines as provided in the Standard Labeling Guidance for one of the reasons listed above, a manufacturer should complete an Alternative Labeling Request form.

The alternative request form can be completed on line and submitted electronically. The alternative labeling request form should identify in detail the specific standard labeling requirements that cannot be met under the law. The second part of the form is the proposal for an alternative labeling method. The proposal should contain all proposed labeling methods for the specific product - including product, package, sales literature or any other methods, which are proposed to use. In this way, all proposed labeling methods are evaluated as a complete labeling request.

Alternatives can be submitted for an individual product, (which may also include alternative labeling for products as well as packages combined), or categories of products provided that:

  • the reason for the alternative request is the same; and
  • the proposed alternative label(s) is the same for the entire family, category or specific list of products submitted.

Once an alternative labeling method is approved and a number is assigned, what is the duration of the approval?

All alternatives have a two-year duration with opportunity for renewal (except for the automobile alternative #ALT-0216, which has a three-year duration).

The anniversary date of each alternative is March 1st - an alternative request approved mid-term will likely be renewed at the next renewal term or may receive additional time if the renewal date is within a few months.

The duration and renewal date of a manufacturer's alternative will be provided when the alternative number is assigned.

Alternative Renewal Guidance

All individual alternatives renew on an even year every two years (March 1, 2004, 2006, 2008 etc.)

  • Automobile alternative (#0216), which renews every three years (March 1, 2003, 2006, 2009, etc.).
  • Lamp alternatives (#0257, #0258 and all other specific individual lamp approval numbers), renew every two years (beginning March 1, 2005 and thereafter, 2007, 2009, etc.). Lamp alternative renewal requests must submitted in writing and must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2004 to be considered for renewal.

Requests for renewal of alternatives (excluding renewals of alternatives for lamps and electronics which should be submitted to Vermont) should be submitted six months prior to the renewal anniversary date to IMERC, 129 Portland Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.
Note: Original "first time" alternative requests should be submitted electronically to Vermont.

To request renewal of an approved alternative labeling method, submit a request for renewal for an additional term in writing to IMERC indicating the alternative number assigned to your approval by Vermont.

A multi-state review of alternative renewals will be conducted through IMERC-- off-site link --. If a renewal is granted, you will receive an alternative renewal approval from Vermont. Other participating states in the review process may also provide the manufacturer with an approval for renewal, if granted.


Mercury Education & Reduction Campaign    103 South Main Street    Waterbury, VT 05671    802-241-3455
MERC is a program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

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