An exclusive interview with Net Your Problem’s Ashley Zullo, the U.S. Northeast Division Coordinator.
Please provide background on your professional experience and role at Net Your Problem.
Growing up on Cape Cod, I always wanted to be a Marine Biologist, so my undergraduate degree is in Marine Biology, and that’s where I met Nicole. After graduating, I worked at a non-profit, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, but realized my calling was working with bacteria. I have discovered antibiotics produced from soil bacteria at NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals for 13 years. Now adding on Net Your Problem as a weeknight/weekend gig, I feel like it’s come full circle. I can reconnect with fishermen I worked with before, meet new fishermen, and help divert waste from landfills.
How did you become affiliated with Net Your Problem?
Nicole Baker and I went to undergrad at Roger Williams University, and we also studied abroad in Bermuda together. I admired that Net Your Problem had recycled one million pounds of fishing nets since NYP started. Nicole wanted to expand NYP’s recycling program to Massachusetts, and I live in Massachusetts.
What is one of your favorite parts of working with an organization like Net Your Problem?
Working with amazing women and the ability to make a bigger impact on the planet by diverting waste from landfills is the most rewarding part.
What is one main takeaway you’d want people to learn about Net Your Problem?
The biggest takeaway from Net Your Problem is that you can be the solution if you see a problem. Nicole saw this problem in Alaska by seeing piles of old fishing nets just sitting around and thought there must be a way to get rid of them and divert them from the landfills. It can feel intimidating not being an expert in something, but we all start not knowing what we are doing until we do it and figure it out.
Do you have any advice for those looking to make a positive environmental impact in their daily lives?
Think of what skills you have and what kinds of things could make a positive environmental impact. See where there is overlap, and do that. Or start talking about what things could be positive for our environment with friends and family. Sometimes, those conversations can spark an idea or get you thinking about what you can do to improve the planet.