The public had better brace itself for another exercise in federal hypocrisy.

By the end of the year, according to Newhouse News Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue new regulations in an effort to encourage Americans to recycle more of their glass, paper and aluminum.But before the EPA starts telling the rest of the country what to do, it ought to make sure that the federal government puts its own house in order.

For example, the General Accounting Office has reported that the government is missing the opportunity to save 26 million trees and five million cubic yards of landfill space each year through recycling government waste paper alone.

After that report, the EPA instituted a comprehensive recycling program - but only at its Washington headquarters.

The GAO added that many other federal agencies also have failed to follow a 1980 law requiring them to buy recycled paper. A loophole in the law provides an exception if high quality paper is not available or if the price is too high.

Washington needs to get out of the habit of telling the rest of the country: "Do as we say, not as we do."