The road, which has since reopened, was closed westbound between Stockmans Lane and Saintfield Road on Friday morning, causing long tailbacks both in and out of Belfast.
Emergency crews attended the scene of the incident, near the Blacks Road off-slip, and it appears that only one man was injured.
According to police, his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
It is understood that the in lorry may have crashed through the central reservation, before blocking all three lanes.
One commuter - who spent more than an hour and 20 minutes stuck in stationary traffic - told U105's Frank Mitchell that "rubberneckers" added to the problem.
"They're all slowing down to have a look," he said, of the drivers heading into the city.
"I didn't see actually what happened, but it looks like a bin lorry has been heading city-bound and he's come straight through the central reservation and collided with three cars."
Country-bound motorists were diverted off the motorway at the Stockman's Lane junction and lane 3 of the M1 was closed in both directions for emergency repairs to the central barrier.
It is now fully reopened to traffic.
Officers earlier had to warn motorists to stay in their vehicles for their own safety.
In a separate incident, a woman was taken to hospital for minor injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash at Donegall Square in Belfast.