So you have been provided a used fridge by your landlord or it’s been over a decade since you bought your last refrigerator and you’re in the market for the latest model. Don’t toss the old unit out just yet. Old fridges can still have a surprisingly versatile range of uses.

Before you get started on repurposing an old fridge, always get a professional to take out any potentially toxic materials like Freon, which is commonly used in older fridge models as a coolant.

Most current models of the environmentally-friendly range use R600a, a non-synthetic, non-toxic coolant with a significantly lower global warming potential and shorter life in the atmosphere than those used in most conventional fridges. Should the fridge be repurposed, extra care should still be taken to remove it, as R600a is flammable.

Now that the basics have been covered, here are some handy ideas to give that old fridge a new lease on life:

Storing pantry items
Old fridges can still store food – if they’re suitable for a pantry. Prime candidates are canned food, dry goods and other items that are better stored in a covered, cool (not cold) environments.

Refrigerators with flexible shelving are well-suited to this task, providing customisable storage spaces and drawers for storing and organising food items. The insulated interior of an old fridge also helps to keep the temperature in the cavity constant, although do find a way to introduce fresh air into the fridge regularly to prevent the build-up of moulds.

Storing electrical items
Some people like to keep emergency electronics in a Faraday Cage, a metallic enclosure that prevents the entry or escape of electromagnetic pulses (EMP) and strong electric fields. Old metal refrigerators work best for this purpose.

Spare electronics that aren’t used daily like an extra laptop, GPS, radio and other equipment might benefit from being stored in one, especially if a lightning strike happens to knock out the rest of your electronics.

Gardening uses
Remove the door and refrigerator shelving, fill the cavity with soil and you have a convenient planter for your garden. The metal, plastic and insulation used in making fridges will now keep pests from eating your plants or herbs, while the insulated walls add extra protection from cold weather. Or you could fill it with water and create a makeshift fish pond for your garden or home.

Elizabeth Png is the brand and consumer communications director for Electrolux Vietnam. She can be contacted at elizabeth.png-reade@electrolux.com