Dumpster diving not quite, but saving a rusty crusty object from the dump on garbage day is what I did one day last summer. It was a great day for a drive to check out rummage sales and it was garbage day. As we were driving down a street, I spied this rusty ash tray sitting out with the boxes and bags. Surely I could repurpose it.
We loaded it in the van, complete with pine needles and old cigarette butts. I cleaned out the debris and it sat in the garage over winter. This summer I scrubbed her with an SOS pad and a vinegar solution to loosen and remove some of the rust. Once she was clean, I taped off the "marble-like glass section and the brass sections and coated her with a coat of Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze.
Magically, a rusty piece of junk became a great plant stand for the patio!