Human activities change our environment. Together with climate change and widespread loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution now plays a predominant role in changing ecosystems around the world. Here we examine the occurrence of plastic ingestion by wild animals from an evolutionary and ecological point of view and investigate the fundamental question of why living organisms ingest plastic. We combine evolutionary, ecological and cognitive approaches under the Evolutionary Trap Theory and identify three main factors that can drive plastic uptake: (i) the availability of plastic in the environment, (ii) the acceptance threshold of an individual and (iii) the overlap of clues through natural foods and plastics.

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