Copper is a much sought-after metal. The average home contains about 400 pounds of copper piping and wiring [source: DIY Network]. Copper can fetch up to $3 a pound in some areas. In fact, the copper recycling market is so lucrative that thieves often break into construction sites to steal copper piping and wire. Like steel, when copper is recycled it retains its strength and durability. However, many local codes require new buildings materials. For instance, copper pipe and wire cannot be reused in plumbing or electrical installations so it's more often salvaged and sold to junkyards and scrap-metal dealers to be used elsewhere [source: Zeller].