Summer brings lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but not all of them are good for your kitchen garbage disposal. A sink-side container comes in handy for things that could start a compost pile instead of possibly giving your garbage disposal trouble. Avoid foods that are stringy, such as celery, banana peels and corn husk, as well as hard melon rinds, chicken skin or meat fat and vegetation from carrots or other produce.

These and other bulky, starchy or tough items can form clogs and get wound around the blade. Grease and oil are not good for the garbage disposal or your home environment for summer. Oily substances tend to stick to the inside of your pipes, solidify and leave a gunk that not only attracts roaches, but also bulky materials that build up and form clogs. You can absorb oils with paper towels and throw the paper towels away to avoid pouring it down the drain or garbage disposal.

It helps to think of your disposal as a convenient place to catch crumbs and bits that come off plates — not so much to consume large amounts of material. You can aid the disposal by (a) Using cold water in it as a rule, and (b) Starting to run the cold water about 15 seconds before sending in the food waste. If the garbage disposal starts to develop an odor, you can try running some citrus peel through it, along with cold water and a few drops of dish soap if you like.