The government has set up a $2.6 million grant to help the Kaikōura and Hurunui districts manage earthquake waste, including hazardous material.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said the funds would help the districts repair waste facilities, recycle earthquake debris and manage hazardous waste such as asbestos.
He said careful management of the thousands of tonnes of waste was an important part of the earthquake recovery.
Dr Smith said demolition and rebuild work needed to be done "at pace", but waste needed to be managed properly so it did not create environmental and health problems now or in the future.
"I look at a town of Waiau that has got about 70 homes, about 30 of those have been red- or orange-stickered," he said.
"As they go through the reconstruction process, we'd expect many tonnes of waste from every one of those buildings. You multiply that across the district and you're talking an order of magnitude of four or five times the normal levels of waste."
The money would be split between Environment Canterbury, the Hurunui District Council and the Kaikōura District Council, and would come from the government's Waste Minimisation Fund.