Margaret Beckett has opened a "world class" materials recycling facility in London.
The Secretary of State for the Environment set the £8m plant running in Thamesmead on Tuesday.
The 750,000-tonne-per-annum facility, which uses cutting-edge technology from across America and Europe, is the first of its size to be constructed in central London.
It was designed and built by Cleanaway, and will be operated by the waste-management company for Greenwich Council.
Beckett said: "London faces a considerable challenge to change the way it deals with its waste. The opening of this facility does not take away the challenge but it does provide significant help in developing a world class solution.
"I am hugely encouraged to see the partnership working so effectively to provide the major investment in recycling that is needed at this critical time."
Funded with the help of a £1.5 million grant from the London Recycling Fund, the site allows residents to place five recyclable materials into a single bin for collection.
More than half the residents in Greenwich already use the service and the number is said to be growing every day.
The borough's recycling rate has risen from 12% in 2003/4 to around 17.4% in October 2004.