Murphy Brown did it. Cathy, the popular comic strip character, did it. And so did Michele Fishman.

They all managed to persuade their offices to start recycling programs, bringing the green crusade to work, according to Ladies' Home Journal magazine.Fishman, a 27-year-old administrative assistant at Infinite Horizons, a consulting firm in St. Louis, noticed her office mates were throwing out enormous amounts of paper. Obsessive about separating trash at home, she asked her boss about starting a program at work. He agreed. She set out a box for paper and a bag for aluminum cans. Her co-workers followed her lead. Now, once a week, Michele fills up her Bronco truck for a trip to the local recycling center.

Many businesses find this effort is good for their public image as well as the bottom line. Workers at Coca-Cola in Atlanta recycle everything from telephone directories to printer cartridges. In three years, they've raised $50,000 for charity from the sale of these goods. And AT&T in New Jersey saves $1.3 million a year by recycling office paper alone.

The key to such a program's success? Employees must see top brass behind the effort, says Laurence Sombke, author of "The Solution to Pollution in the Workplace" (MasterMedia). "If the bosses aren't really promoting it, the rest of the people up and down the line tend to be blase."