Gift bags usually look shiny if they're made from a mix of paper and plastic. The requirements for recycling gift bags are similar to those for paper. Plain paper bags can be put in the recycling bin, but not bags made with plastic, aluminum foil or cloth, according to Brock and the American Forest and Paper Association. That's why shiny gift bags aren't recyclable.
Glossy wrapping paper can usually be recycled in the blue bin. Avoid buying or recycling packaging materials with metallic finishes or made with plastic. Tissue paper fibers are too short to be recycled again. Paper gift bags can be put in the recycling bin.
However, gift bags made with plastic or cloth must be reused because they can't go to the curbside bin. If your paper gift bag has rope handles, glitter, or beads, you should remove them before placing them in the recycling bin. If Christmas morning causes irreparable damage, throw them away and perhaps consider stronger gift bags for easy reuse in the future.